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West Virginia attorney general calls planned school walkout illegal

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey calls the two-day walkout planned Thursday and Friday by teachers and school service personnel is unlawful. (WCHS/WVAH File Photo)

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said Wednesday that the two-day walkout planned by teachers and school service personnel is unlawful and state law and court rulings provide the option to seek an injunction to end the strike.

“Let us make no mistake, the impending work stoppage is unlawful,” Morrisey said in a news release. “State law and court rulings give specific parties avenues to remedy such illegal conduct, including the option to seek an injunction to end an unlawful strike.”

Morrisey said the walkout planned Thursday and Friday affects hundreds of thousands of students and families across our state.

“Our office is prepared to support any relevant state agency or board with legal remedies they may choose to pursue to uphold the law. We also stand ready to assist and support any county board of education or county superintendent as they enforce the law,” he said.

Morrisey said if he takes action in response to the walkout it would be consistent with his duties as attorney general to uphold the law that is designed to “ensure our students have access to the education they are entitled to by our state’s constitution.”

The attorney general called the state’s teachers and school service personnel among the state’s “best and brightest,” and he supports their cries for higher salaries and affordable health care.

Morrisey made it clear, however, that he believes a work stoppage is illegal.

“Breaking the law does not set a good example for our children,” he said.

The state Board of Education held an emergency meeting Wednesday to address the planned work stoppage. On Tuesday, lawmakers approved a pay raise measure for school employees and sent it to the desk of West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice for his consideration.

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