Tulsa-Area Teachers Complete 110-Mile Journey To State Capitol
OKLAHOMA CITY - They walked more than 110 miles to make it to the Oklahoma State Capitol, but Tuesday night Tulsa teachers say their fight is far from over. Unsure of what their next steps are, they say they are still trying to find a path that leads to better classroom funding.
“We will do whatever it takes, and I don't want to be gone from my daughter for 7 days again. She will come with me. Whatever we have to do, it will get done,” says 3rd Grade Tulsa Teacher Heather Cody, who also organized the Tulsa walk.
Those who made the journey have a chant for everything they encountered along the way.
A doctor also traveled with the team, and helped treat everything from blisters to swollen feet. “Rain, snow, earthquakes, lightning, nothing will stop us from doing the right thing.”
Cody says that educators averaged about 15 miles a day, and left their own families to make their voices heard. However, she adds strangers opened their schools and donated food and a place to sleep during the literal walkout.
“Warm showers, warm food. Our bellies are full, our hearts are full. There is nothing like Oklahoma. If people want to know why we stay in Oklahoma, they should have traveled with us because this just proves everything about it,” Cody says.
Acting Oklahoma City Public Schools Superintendent Rebecca Kay says her district welcomed Tulsa by forming a finish line near the Capitol. Supporters lined the streets as a marching band led the way down Kelly and 21st.
“Bring them in with a bang with the Douglass High School Trojans Marching Band. It was awesome,” Kay says.
While earlier today Governor Mary Fallin signed two bills into law impacting education, teachers say they still hope to shape history. They’re demanding more for their classrooms and say one day, it’s possible Oklahoma textbooks might talk about this very moment.
“When my wife dropped me off, I said I'll see you at the Capitol on Tuesday and nothing else is in my mind,” says Mid-Del Teacher Aaron Baker.
Baker traveled to Tulsa to walk with the teachers back to Oklahoma City, and adds the experience has been overwhelming.
While the next few days are uncertain, dozens of people News 9 interviewed said today was about uniting districts, and showing funding issues spread to schools across Oklahoma.