A high school student’s honest post after her trip to the Oklahoma State Capitol has gone viral.
Madison Marshall, a student at Cache High School, recently went to the capitol during a school trip with her classmates.
She said in a post to Facebook that she was disappointed that while she and her classmates were meeting with their district’s representatives, they were all on their phones.
“Today I went with a small group of my peers up to the capitol to support our teachers, and watch the legislative process in action. We sat in on their session, and spoke to our district’s representative. If I could sum up my thoughts on what I saw I would use the word ‘disappointing,'” she wrote.
“These representatives clearly did not care about doing their job. Over half of them were sitting on their phones, and the other half—were not even in the room. It was like walking into a room of unsupervised high school freshman. They were on cell phones, backs turned, talking, or just leaving the room coming back only to vote on a bill they had been absent during the introduction of.
She said what happened was especially disappointing in light of how much the representatives make.
“However, the thing that ticked me off the most was that they make more in three months than what an Oklahoma teacher makes in one year, and all they do is sit on their phones and chat about who knows what. To top it off we got to speak with our representative. He proceeded to tell us that Oklahoma teachers were trying to extort the government, and that teachers can wait it out another year. His attitude was passive, and he gave us the run around on everything we asked,” she said.
Marshall was referencing how the Oklahoma Education Association (OEA), the state’s largest teachers union, is seeking a $10,000 pay raise for Oklahoma teachers over the next three years as well as a $5,000 pay raise for support professionals, along with a cost-of-living adjustment for retirees.
“He clearly did not value us nor our education. I will remember that when I vote, and I hope my peers will as well. To all of my teachers past and present: As a senior with my graduation, state contest, and other activities on the line because of this walkout. You have my full support. I would rather suffer now, so that the future generations will not have to. You are not walking out on us. You are walking out for us.”
The OEA is planning a walkout on April 2 if legislators don’t increase teacher and staff pay and restore education funding in the state, according to KFOR.
“Our goals remain the same- to force the legislature to pass a plan that provides teachers and support professionals a significant pay raise, and restores critical funding to our classrooms,” said association President Alicia Priest in a video posted to the union’s Facebook page. “We will not allow lawmakers, once again, to shortchange our students, our teachers and our support professionals.”