Oklahoma Teachers Write Letters To State Leaders

POTEAU (KFSM) -- Teachers in Oklahoma are spending some of their Spring Break writing letters to state leaders, hoping to get their message across before the potential school shutdown on April 2.

Dozens of handwritten letters are now sealed with a stamp. Those letters addressed to the Oklahoma state capitol.

"It`s personal," Susan Manlove, math teacher at Poteau Middle School said. "You can send an email and it`s easy for your secretary to open or not open them at all, but when they have these physically delivered by the mail at the capitol, they have no choice but to look at them and say someone has taken a lot of time."

Teachers in Poteau have found another way to show state lawmakers that they're demanding change.

"We`re watching," Manlove said. "We want you to take this seriously. This is about funding kids in Oklahoma. It`s about giving our kids what they deserve."

"A lot of people mistakenly think it`s about teacher salary and that we`re gonna close and not have anything to do with kids at that time, which is completely untrue," Katie Hopper, art teacher at Poteau High School said.

While teachers are writing letters to state leaders, students are also joining in. They said this affects them, too.

`"I go to school and the textbook are falling apart," Kelly Webster, senior at Poteau High School said. "The cover is a separate object from the book. You have to put them together and there`s not enough supplies."

One teacher wrote, "Please realize while you are working hard, teachers have been working for years to educate the future of Oklahoma with limited resources."

Those limited resources are what teachers, students and parents are using to write these letters, hoping their words will be read and understood.

"I just wrote how I feel that everyone that is kind of head of the state is ignoring the fact that teachers are very important," Webster said.

"We`re very serious about this," Manlove said. "We`re uniting as a group together."

While those in Oklahoma have been finding different ways to reach out to lawmakers, they have also been planning for the potential school shutdown.

Breakfast and lunch will be served for students who need it at the elementary and middle schools in Poteau during the days schools are closed.

Teachers said if their demands of higher salary and more school funding are not met by Easter, they plan to walkout April 2.