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Occupy Oakland: Hundreds of teachers fail to show up for work

November 2, 2011 |  4:07 pm

Protesters

Hundreds of teachers failed to show up for work Wednesday as Occupy Oakland protesters called for a citywide "general strike" to protest economic conditions.

An estimated 16% of teachers in the Oakland Unified School District did not show up to class on Wednesday, said district spokesman Troy Flint.

The troubled district usually has about 2,000 teachers working on a given day and from 20 to 25 absent. On Wednesday, about 315 to 320 stayed away in response to the general strike. Occupy Oakland had called for “no work and no school” for the day.

PHOTOS: Occupy protests around the nation

No schools were closed, although, in some instances, classes had to be consolidated or children redistributed, Flint said. Although student absenteeism was higher than usual, the district did not have an official number of absent students.

“We do support some of the ideals of Occupy Oakland, particularly the concept that services have been dramatically underfunded,” Flint said. “We wanted to allow teachers who were fighting for public education and children to have their voice.”

Still, he said, parents were urged to send their children to school, and “we were committed to keeping schools open.... It wasn’t a normal day by any means, but it progressed well.”

By late Wednesday afternoon, police and city officials estimated the number of street protesters at about 4,500. They said they expected that number to increase by this evening. 

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-- Maria L. La Ganga in San Francisco

Photo: Occupy Oakland protesters demonstrate downtown.

Credit: Lee Romney / Los Angeles Times

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