Billboards by teachers union send message about ongoing disagreement with Broward superintendent

The Broward Teachers Union put up two billboards to bring awareness of their disagreement with school superintendent over forcing teachers back to the classroom who may be at risk for COVID-19. (WPLG)

BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. – They are continuing their fight against Broward Superintendent Robert Runcie’s directive that all teachers must be back in the classroom. As a follow up with their delivery of thousands of pairs of flip flops to community and business leaders earlier this week, the Broward Teachers Union posted two billboards that asks the question: “School Superintendent Robert Runcie? Will He Protect Students and Teachers?”

Runcie has been adamant that all teachers must be back in the classroom despite the fact that only about 40 percent of students are attending in-person learning, but the BTU’s position is that Runcie is not doing enough to protect teachers who are at risk of dying of COVID-19.

“The less than 10% of educators who are the most vulnerable to COVID-19 must be protected,” BTU President Anna Fusco said. “With only about 27% of students back in the buildings, there is no reason this can’t be accomplished.”

Two weeks ago, an arbitration order sided with the school district, saying schools may require teachers to return to the classroom to meet operational needs.

“Our teachers’ and students’ lives are not being valued,” said Fusco. “Runcie has forced the most severely medically vulnerable educators who were teaching remotely to return to the classroom and now some teachers are teaching remotely sitting in empty classrooms, while others are now being told to pay less attention to students online to prioritize students in person. "

According to the superintendent, Broward Schools has allowed more than 600 teachers with underlying health issues to remain teaching online. The school district had originally granted 1,700 teachers the ability to teach remotely.

The two billboards in Broward County are on the east side of University Drive, between Sheridan and Stirling Roads, facing south. Another is on the west side of I-95 north of Davie Boulevard facing north.

The billboards point drivers to sign a petition at that asks the superintendent to protect medically high risk teachers by continuing to let them teach from home.

About the Author:

Michelle F. Solomon is the podcast producer/reporter/host of Local 10's original, true-crime podcast The Florida Files and a digital journalist for Local