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The atmosphere leading to the protests was tense, given the introduction of a bill that threatens to jail teachers who strike and a call for doctors willing to write notes for protesting instructors who may otherwise have their pay docked for attending rallies even if schools are closed in their district. But Amie Baca-Oehlert, vice president of the Colorado Education Association, prefers to keep the focus on the reasons teachers are demonstrating.
"We have chronically underfunded our system," Baca-Oehlert says. "We need to do better by our students, and by our community."
The week before what Baca-Oehlert refers to as the current "days of action," Senator Bob Gardner and Representative Paul Lundeen, a pair of Republican legislators from El Paso County, introduced Senate Bill 18-264, which "prohibits public school teachers and teacher organizations from directly or indirectly inducing, instigating, encouraging, authorizing, ratifying, or participating in a strike against any public school employer."
The measure requires public school employers to seek an injunction from district court to end any strikes, and failure to abide by such an edict would be punishable by "fines or up to six months in county jail, or both."
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