RALEIGH, NC (WECT) - The sea of red that flooded into the General Assembly building Wednesday morning was not lost on state lawmakers in Raleigh. Hundreds of teachers from across the state were inside the legislative building when the House and Senate reconvened just after noon.
House Speaker Tim Moore recognized the teachers' appearance and prompted members to give the visitors a standing ovation.
Representatives Frank Iler (R-Brunswick) and Deb Butler (D-New Hanover County) sat down with four teachers of the year from Brunswick County. They discussed the conditions inside the schools where each one teaches, hearing about the need for more school resources, specially trained school resources officers, and increased staffing to assistant with mental health issues. Both lawmakers came away impressed with the meeting, and the effort teachers made to raise their concerns with elected leaders.
"I'm so excited to see these teachers," Butler said prior to the morning march to the General Assembly. "They have organized themselves because they recognize the backbone of the North Carolina economy depends on how well they educate our children."
"The rally today shows great support for teachers," Iler said from the floor of the house after the session had recessed. "Again, there is some controversy over whether this a strike and whether the kids are being neglected. But I don't think that is as important as teachers getting respect, and I very much want to raise respect for teachers."
While the two lawmakers disagreed on whether the anticipated spending bill announced Tuesday by Republican leaders goes far enough, both did anticipate lawmakers taking steps in this session to address issues such as school safety and mental health assistance.