Sickout closes 1 DPS school; 2nd closed due to hearing

Holly Fournier, and James David Dickson

Detroit — Two Detroit Public Schools were closed Monday in connection with the rolling teacher sickouts, according to district officials.

Davison Elementary-Middle School on the city’s east side was closed due to a teacher sickout, officials announced early Monday on the district’s Facebook page.

Diann Banks Williamson, an east side special education school for teens, was closed after its eight teachers attended a hearing Monday about a request from Detroit Public Schools for a judge to stop the sickouts, which have closed dozens of schools over the past two months.

“The school was closed today due to the hearing,” district press secretary Chrystal Wilson said.

Williamson was included early Monday on the district’s Facebook page in a list of schools closed “due to sickouts.”

Judge Cynthia Diane Stephens of the Michigan Court of Claims on Monday denied the district’s request to issue a temporary restraining order against the Detroit Federation of Teachers, interim president Ivy Bailey or ousted president Steve Conn.

The judge set another hearing for Feb. 16 on DPS’ request for a preliminary injunction. The district’s complaint argues that the sickouts are essentially teacher strikes, which are illegal in Michigan.

The complaint originally named 23 teachers as defendants; all but Bailey and Conn have been dropped from the case.

Stephens also dismissed the activist group By Any Means Necessary and two teachers groups, Detroit Strike to Win and DPS Teachers Fight Back, from the lawsuit filed last week by the district.

Last week, 91 percent of Detroit Public Schools buildings were closed Jan. 20 due to a teacher sickout. Teachers involved in the Strike To Win coalition warned of even more sickouts on Jan. 21, but then the district filed for an injunction and a restraining order against alleged leaders and participants in sickout activity. The emergency motion was denied last week and no sickouts materialized Thursday or Friday.