Students, teachers, parents, public employees and supporters crowded inside the State Capitol as the Oklahoma teacher walkout has continued throughout the week.
For some, Wednesday’s component of the walkout was an opportunity to demonstrate continued support of public educators and their students.
Lynna Baldwin, a second-grade teacher from Owen Elementary in Tulsa, came to the Capitol in costume to continue her bi-monthly school’s tradition of dress-up days.
“They told me to dress professionally, so I decided to go all out,” Baldwin said. Similarly, 9-year-old Sam Miller of Blanchard painted a sign and put on a suit to ask his representative for more money for his school.
Kori Dillingham, a nurse from Jenks, made a poster that read, “We don’t want none unless you got funds, hun” and joined the crowds to support her parents who both work in public education.
Students from the Norman High School Chorale gathered Wednesday at the bottom of the Capitol rotunda to perform and add their voices to the cacophony of chants and cheers. They were scheduled to sing in a state contest but decided to participate in the walkout instead.
“[The students] planned to be here before we even thought about it, so they are just really awesome kids who care about school and their teachers,” said assistant choir director Jaclyn Knierim.
Others used this day to try to meet with their representative one more time before the House floor session, which would decide the fate of House Bill 1019XX, a measure chiefly designed to collect sales taxes on third-party Amazon sales. (See this article from Wednesday for details about the House vote. Coverage will continue for as long as the walkout lasts.)
At 3 p.m., the session began as students, teachers and supporters packed the upper gallery of the House chamber. Those who could not get into the gallery gathered in the rotunda chanting, “We’re not leaving,” even when the final Oklahoma Education Association shuttle left at 5 p.m.