Protest held outside Sacramento school after students go months without permanent teacher

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) -- For the past few months, a group of students at William Land Elementary School in the Sacramento City Unified School District have been without a permanent teacher.

“We haven’t had any instruction all year,” said Luke Day, a William Land sixth grader. “We haven’t even had any work all year.”

Parent Micheal Day said there has been a revolving door of substitute teachers after a retiring teacher originally in charge of the students failed to show up to work before taking an extended sick leave back in November. The teacher inevitably resigned in December.

“Not only are they falling behind curriculum-wise but the lack of a consistent authority figure has caused the bullies in the class to feel emboldened,” said parent Keith Breedlove.

Parents like Breedlove said when substitutes were not made available, the fifth and sixth students were forced to spend the day in other classrooms -- many times with students in much lower grade levels.

“No structure given. 'Just go hang out with the second graders,'” Breedlove said.

“Basically just sending us out there to teach ourselves,” said Asher Breedlove.

That’s when students decided to send a clear message to SCUSD. Parents and students held a protest outside of the school before and after class Thursday to demand a permanent teacher.

In response, William Land Elementary School Principal Ellen Lee sent a letter to parents saying a new permanent teacher has been hired. The letter reads in part:

I recognize that the past three months have been challenging for you and your child and have heard your concerns. We remain committed as a school and school district to helping address the situation. As you all are aware, we have been working diligently to provide our children with a qualified teacher for the remainder of the school year.

Principal Lee said there will also be additional academic support provided for students in math and writing.

A new permanent teacher is expected to start next Tuesday.

“Thank you for giving us the tools we need to try and catch up,” Luke said.

While one by one, students and parents addressed the issue at Thursday night’s school board meeting, parents said they hope their students can get back on track in time for the next school year.

"From what I've heard, middle school is pretty tough," Luke told FOX40.

“He's going to be stuffing a whole year’s worth of school work into four months. But, you know, hard work is nothing to be afraid of,” Michael said.

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