Oakland teacher's message to students: 'I am striking for them'

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- As Oakland teachers prepare to go on strike Thursday, many teachers who are not sure when they will return to work spent the afternoon getting ready for what may be an extended leave from their classrooms.

ABC7 News spoke to Skyline High School ceramics teacher Donna Salonga as she stored students' projects for safe-keeping.

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"This is actually really hard to do," Salonga told us. "I already see, like, the lack of life in my classroom. I did that on purpose because I had to put a lot of things away to make sure that if they do use my classroom during the strike, that the things that do mean a lot to my students don't get messed with."

Salonga is emotional about leaving the classroom but feels teachers have no other option.

"It's really been hard. I was in the car this morning kind of anticipating getting teary about it."

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ABC7 News education reporter Lyanne Melendez prompted Salonga to discuss the negotiating process.

"You started negotiating in 2016, December 7, first meeting. And then after that, you know, you've had 30 meetings and then nothing," Melendez said.

"Yeah," Salonga replied. "That's why we're striking. Because, if they can't hear that we need to be paid a living wage, if they're not hearing us asking for smaller class sizes, if they're not hearing us to fund our schools and stop school closures, then this is what has brought us here."

"What do you want to tell your students?" Melendez asked.

OAKLAND TEACHER STRIKE: Resources for parents here

"I want to tell them that I'm going to miss them," Salonga said. "I am definitely going to be missing them. And that I am striking for them."

Take a look at the latest stories and videos about the Oakland teacher strike.
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