COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) – Seven school districts around the state have decided to close schools in response to a rally at the statehouse Wednesday morning that is expected to draw crowds in the thousands.

Teachers are calling for reform that includes smaller class sizes, higher teacher pay, and protection from retaliation if they speak out publicly about issues with the education system.

Richland School District 2 announced they would be closing schools tomorrow for that rally, the event was one of the big topics of discussion during Wednesday night’s school board meeting.

Wednesday is the big day for educators planning to rally for education reform at the statehouse, and teachers from Richland District 2 say they’re feeling the support.

“It’s a gift in and of itself that we get to go without any repercussions,” said teacher Arleigh West.

But not everyone is a fan of district leaders deciding to shut down schools for the one-day event.

One community member spoke during the public comment portion of the evening saying that the closure of the district is an inconvenience to parents and hourly employees.

“If you don’t allow an opportunity for teachers to stand up and be heard, then you’re going to get what you’ve gotten the last number of decades in South Carolina. Which are schools that are under-funded, and teachers who are over-worked,” said teacher Chris Hass.

Teachers in Richland 2 say they think their cause is bigger than a one-time disruption.

“It’s one day,” West said. “It’s an inconvenience of one day but it’s a lifetime of change that we’re hoping for in the state.”

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