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March for Students and Rally for Respect brings thousands to Raleigh

More than 15,000 teachers from across North Carolina are marching in Wednesday's rally in Raleigh. (Photo: WCTI)

Here's a full report from the March for Students and Rally for Respect. NewsChannel 12's team of reporters were on the ground giving you coverage all day of the event.

RALLY COVERAGE

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5:45 p.m.

Stephanie Brown talked with parents and students from Pitt County Schools about Wednesday's rally.

5:30 p.m. report (Ashley Boles)

5 p.m. report (Ashley Boles)


4:30 PM

The latest estimate of crowd numbers at the Rally for Respect is close to 30,000 people.

That's according to ABC11's helicopter crowd estimator tool. Original numbers were estimated to be around 20,000 at the beginning of the day, with some teachers and parents saying they planned on going home after the march.

-- Elizabeth Roman, Digital Producer

4:07 PM

RALEIGH -- The rain is coming down again as speakers take the podium. It's the fourth time today, but this time it's pouring.

The crowd chants, "Enough is enough."

-- Adam Gaub, Executive Producer

3:35 PM

RALEIGH -- The Rally for Respect, which was supposed to begin at 3:00 p.m., is finally underway.

It's been a delayed start for educators gathered in Raleigh. A few bouts of rain sent many scurrying for cover.

The music playing while everyone was waiting? "We Didn't Start the Fire" by Billy Joel.

-- Elizabeth Roman, Digital Producer

2:18 PM

RALEIGH — Signs were everywhere in downtown Raleigh Wednesday.

Some were simple: “#RedForED”

Some were snarky: “If You Can Read This, Thank a Teacher”

Some were, well, downright funny: “This wouldn’t happen at Hogwarts.”

Whether it was students, teachers or other rally-goers, nearly everyone was carrying a sign on Wednesday.

Some that weren’t had other ways to make their voices heard: loudspeakers, drums — even an improvised marching band.

-- Adam Gaub, Executive Producer

2:05 PM

RALEIGH — It’s the elephant in the room all while the teachers are making their pleas to Elephants in the room.

What comes next? How can teachers keep the pressure on the Republican-led General Assembly to provide more funding for schools?

Erik Matticola, a history teacher at Swansboro High School, said it can’t be a one-off, or nothing will ever change.

Bu it also can’t be teachers carrying the weight of continued pressure, he said. Parents, students and even regular residents have to stay in the game.

“This is not something we’re going to let go.”

Fellow SHS teacher Pam Ladley agreed.

“This isn't a moment, it is a movement,” she said.

Both teachers emphasized Wednesday’s rally was about much more than teacher salaries.

Matticola’s bigger focus was on the lack of funding for the schools themselves — funds he said needed for more school nurses, counselors and teachers — to reduce swelling class sizes.

-- Adam Gaub, Executive Producer

1:20 PM

RALEIGH -- Teachers on the ground are talking about the importance of making this rally more than a one day event, but with lobbying and letter writing instead of marching.

Many are telling NewsChannel 12 reporters that they don't want students to miss any more school days.

-- Elizabeth Roman, Digital Producer

1:00 PM

RALEIGH -- Teachers are marching in mass numbers toward the Capitol building this morning from NCAE.

They're chanting loud in the hopes of bringing change, shouting "This is what democracy looks like, I believe that we will win," and "Remember remember we vote in November."

-- Adam Gaub, Executive Producer

12:00 PM

RALEIGH -- Thousands of teachers and their supports have come out to march with the hopes of pressuring lawmakers to raise teacher salaries and stop cuts in education funding. Many are taking to social media to express their concerns and document the event.

One teacher posted to Twitter: "Sign posted in the offices of NC legislators. It’s not just about salary. Get over that argument. Safety. Equality. Learning. Funding. Functioning. Future. Civil building block."

Another posted a video of the rally to Twitter, using the hashtag #ItsPersonal.

#RedForEd is now one of the top trending hashtags on Twitter. You can follow it to see tweets from all sides of the rally.

"There’s a lot of teachers that aren’t here that really want to be here that can’t be here and I think the ones that are here are using our voices to say we care about our future we want more resources and you know if you have any questions, come talk to a local teacher," Krystal Miller, a teacher at Queens Creek Elementary School in Onslow County told NewsChannel 12.

For more tweets from the rally, follow our Banjo thread below.

-- Elizabeth Roman, Digital Producer

11:30 AM

RALEIGH -- Aerial footage from ABC News shows the massive teacher protest in Raleigh, North Carolina, as a wave of teacher revolts continue to sweep throughout the U.S.

Up to 15,000 are expected to swarm the state's capitol this morning, but NewsChannel 12 is hearing that more than 20,000 are estimated to be in attendance.

-- Elizabeth Roman, Digital Producer

10:30 AM

RALIEGH -- We're in Raleigh at the North Carolina teacher rally. Here's a quick look at what's going on right now.

-- Ashley Boles, Reporter

10:00 AM

RALEIGH -- State officials are beginning to show their support for teachers and supporters rallying in the state's capital today.

Governor Cooper tweeted: "Teachers — we hear you and we’re with you. - RC"

The First Lady of North Carolina also tweeted about the rally, using the hashtags #RedforEdNC and #NCTeacherRally.

Senator Phil Berger posted a string of tweets about the rally and statistics about teacher wages under Republican leadership.

Berger tweeted: "Teacher pay has increased every year for the past four years and lawmakers have already pledged this year is the fifth consecutive year that NC teachers will see their pay increase in the state budget."

Berger also noted that North Carolina's teacher salaries "are among the fastest rising in the country," ranking second in the U.S. for fastest rising teacher pay in 2017, according to the NEA.

The Senator also tweeted multiple infographics about teacher wages and pay raises.

Onslow County Schools Associate Superintendent Barry Collins also shared his thoughts on the rally with NewsChannel 12's Merrilee Moore.

"We certainly want to support our teachers - that's the key thing here," Collins said. "The message that we would send is we want to support our teachers. But we also want to say that it is unfortunate that it came to this and that we were put in a position that we had to close schools today."

Around 260 Onslow County teachers are attending the rally in Raleigh today. Collins said that cancelling classes for Onslow County students today came down to a safety issue -- they didn't have enough adults in the buildings to hold classes and watch over the students.

-- Elizabeth Roman, Digital Producer

8:00 AM

GREENVILLE -- NewsChannel 12 reporter Ashley Boles and Executive Producer, Adam Gaub, are on their way to Raleigh for the March for Students and Rally for Respect happening today at the state capital.

-- Elizabeth Roman, Digital Producer

6:50 AM

GREENVILLE -- Checking in here from our bureau in Greenville before we hit the road for Raleigh.

Teachers from across our area are also hitting the road, heading to join a projected 15,000 teachers and supporters rallying in the state's capital.

Throughout the day, we'll be bringing you live updates, with conversations with teachers, lawmakers and policy experts on the ground.

-- Adam Gaub, Executive Producer



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