Students read to school employees on the picket line

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HARRISON COUNTY, W.Va (WDTV) - School buildings have been dark for more than a week, but students found another way to see their teachers Monday: reading to them on the picket lines.

"They do so much for us," said Caitlin Murray, a third grader at Johnson Elementary School. "And I think we should do something for them."

On the eighth day of the statewide school employees' strike, Murray and several other students gathered outside Johnson to read Dr. Seuss books, as a sign of support and encouragement for the movement.

Just down the road, dozens of students took their turns reading Dr. Seuss books to school employees picketing in front of Simpson Elementary School.

Matt McCullough, a special education teacher at Simpson, said several employees had planned to travel to Charleston Monday. But those plans changed over the weekend, when they heard the students were coming to see them.

"They miss their kids," McCullough said. "And when I say their kids, a lot of these teachers don't look at them as their students. They truly are their kids."

McCullough added that the day served as a reunion for many children and teachers, many of whom haven't seen each other in almost two weeks.

"I was looking around," McCullough said. "And some of the teachers were very emotional as the kids were coming up and reading pages from the book."

McCullough and other teachers said they're heartened by these displays of solidarity, which reaffirm the community's steadfast support for the cause.

Meanwhile, it's not clear when teachers and students will be reunited inside the classroom, as the strike is set to head into its ninth day Tuesday.