These West Virginia kids didn't treat the teacher strike as a vacation. They picketed too

Many West Virginia students don't want more days off from school, but they do want their teachers to get better pay....

Posted: Feb 28, 2018 10:01 AM
Updated: Feb 28, 2018 10:01 AM

Many West Virginia students don't want more days off from school, but they do want their teachers to get better pay.

The four-day teacher work stoppage has closed every single public school in the state, leaving more than 277,000 students with unexpected free time.

"I wish it wouldn't have come to this and that I was still in school, but I want the teachers to get the wages that they deserve, so I'm alright with it," said Victoria Blickenstaff, a sophomore at Fairmont Senior High School in the city of Fairmont.

So, Blickenstaff and her classmates have been joining teachers on the picket lines since Thursday.

A hashtag takes off

They're sharing pictures using the hashtags #55Strong and #SecureOurFuture. The latter was started by a group of student organizers at Capital High School in Charleston.

On February 21, they organized a purple-out across their school and neighboring counties to stand in solidarity with their teachers. Students wore purple to signify a combination of red and blue, the two teachers' union colors. Students from 18 schools across the state participated.

The #SecureOurFuture leaders also penned an open letter to the people of their state, asking them to understand the importance of the strike.

"For us, this work stoppage is not about missing class," the students told CNN. "As we stated in our open letter, 'We understand that this strike is not just a day off from school for us; it is not about pay, it's about what's right.'"

Some athletes OK with the strikes

Many students are worried about falling behind, but they're also sympathetic to what's at stake for those who teach them.

"I've been trying to keep of track with my AP Government and AP Psychology without school because it's really hard to miss so many days with exams coming up," Rhea Rideout, a senior at Huntington High School in Huntington, tells CNN.

Still, Rideout, like others, say they understand.

Avary King, a sophomore at Fairmont Senior High School, said that some members of her community are upset the work stoppage could impact school sporting events. But not all athletes share the same feelings.

Chase Goldsmith is a part of the #SecureOurFuture leadership and also plays on his school's football team. Although they are currently off-season, he says he would sympathize with the teachers even if the strike did cancel games and practices.

"Our education comes first as we are student athletes. For our education to come first, our teachers have to come first. Most athletes understand and agree with that," he said.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 16560

Reported Deaths: 794
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds107426
Madison76728
Lauderdale75968
Neshoba72844
Jones70133
Scott66312
Forrest59539
DeSoto57510
Rankin4569
Leake45212
Holmes44330
Copiah3294
Jackson31415
Attala31118
Yazoo2964
Newton2884
Lincoln28031
Leflore27736
Oktibbeha27314
Harrison2697
Monroe26925
Wayne2623
Lamar2505
Lowndes2479
Pearl River21231
Pike20411
Adams20316
Washington1987
Warren19610
Lee1948
Noxubee1936
Covington1792
Bolivar16911
Jasper1674
Clarke15619
Smith15511
Kemper15511
Lafayette1544
Chickasaw14014
Coahoma1314
Clay1254
Winston1241
Carroll11911
Marion1169
Claiborne1155
Lawrence1071
Grenada1074
Simpson1040
Yalobusha1046
Sunflower923
Tate911
Hancock9012
Union897
Itawamba897
Marshall873
Wilkinson859
Panola843
Montgomery841
Webster844
Jefferson Davis823
Tippah7611
Calhoun674
Amite661
Walthall640
Humphreys637
Tunica583
Prentiss533
Perry513
Choctaw502
Pontotoc473
Jefferson421
Tishomingo360
Greene331
Stone320
Quitman320
Tallahatchie301
George292
Franklin292
Alcorn191
Benton140
Sharkey70
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 18766

Reported Deaths: 651
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2321118
Jefferson1901104
Montgomery185843
Tuscaloosa83616
Marshall7089
Franklin5858
Lee56234
Shelby52819
Tallapoosa43466
Butler42118
Walker3862
Elmore3749
Chambers36026
Madison3534
Unassigned3062
Morgan3021
Baldwin2939
Dallas2923
Lowndes26512
Etowah26312
DeKalb2573
Autauga2415
Coffee2391
Sumter2287
Houston2265
Bullock2176
Pike2120
Colbert1902
Hale1859
Russell1810
Barbour1771
Marengo1756
Lauderdale1722
Calhoun1673
Wilcox1577
Choctaw15310
Cullman1521
Clarke1492
St. Clair1351
Randolph1287
Dale1240
Marion12411
Pickens1205
Talladega1195
Limestone1080
Chilton1071
Greene954
Macon934
Winston910
Jackson833
Covington821
Henry822
Crenshaw783
Bibb761
Escambia753
Washington736
Blount631
Lawrence510
Monroe462
Geneva440
Perry430
Conecuh411
Coosa401
Cherokee383
Clay282
Lamar280
Fayette160
Cleburne151
Tupelo
Clear
74° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 74°
Columbus
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 73°
Oxford
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 72°
Starkville
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 70°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather