Update: Tacoma teachers wait to decide whether to return to class

Sep 14, 2011

Leaders of the Tacoma teachers’ union say they will leave it up to the striking teachers to decide what to do with a judge’s order to return to the classroom tomorrow morning.

Andy Coons, president of the union, told teachers at a rally this afternoon that he would be contacting them possibly later today with options for them to decide on.

Superior Court Judge Bryan Chushcoff has ordered teachers in Washington state's third-largest school district to go back to work, a day after they walked out over issues that include pay and how teachers are transferred. He also ordered both sides to return to the bargaining table.

“This is a democratic organization and what we do with that order is not up to me it is up to you,” union president Coons told teachers. He added that they could expect to hear from their strike captains “soon.”

Meanwhile, the Tacoma School District officials say classes will resume Thursday, with students to report two hours later than normal.

One teacher, Tami Driscoll, who teaches 5th grade in the district, said she will follow the direction of the union.

“If they say strike because they know that is the best thing to do, I’m going to do that because my expertise is in the classroom not the courtroom,” she said. “So, if they tell me to go stand at Lincoln High School tomorrow morning at 8 a.m., that’s where I’ll be.”