Harrison County teachers and state employees walk in unity

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BRIDGEPORT, W.Va (WDTV)- Strength and solidarity was the point being made at every school in Harrison County Tuesday morning. Hundreds of state employees lined the sidewalks before peacefully participating in a walk-in at the start of the school day.

Teacher strikes and meetings have made headlines for over a week now, but Harrison County teachers say they wanted to make a statement without interrupting the school day.

Educators stood in unity alongside police officers and other state workers to wave posters and chant for higher pay and better insurance premiums. Teachers then walked into the building at their normal time to start their work day. Classes were not interrupted by the activities.

Although teachers have been at the forefront of the protests and meetings, they want to draw light on the fact that they are not the only ones taking a hit.

"The Department of Highways is effected by this, State Police are effected by this, the Department of Health and Human Services is effected by this," said Bridgeport High School English teacher Brian Elliott.

Elliott said he chose to stand outside Tuesday morning to take a stance on what he believes is fair for teachers in the Mountain State. He says the ultimate goal is to provide a strong public education system to best serve the students.

Superintendent Dr. Mark Manchin said he, along with the Board of Education, has the same goal in mind.

"Here in Harrison County we are all working together towards one common goal and that is to provide quality education for our students," Dr. Manchin said.

Dr. Manchin believes the issues over pay has been a slow erosion over time and must be addressed.

"A burden heavy to one is born lightly by many," Manchin quoted a common saying.

Dr. Manchin says in order to be heard in Charleston, the community needs to stand as one.