(CNN) — Public schools across West Virginia will remain closed through Monday as teachers and other school employees hit the picket lines, demanding higher wages and better benefits.
“We’ve heard them loud and clear. They’re not ready [to return],” West Virginia Education Association President Dale Lee announced Friday.
Teachers from across the state congregated in Charleston Friday morning, continuing the demonstration that had begun at the state capitol Thursday. Locally, teachers are walking picket lines in front of individual schools, according to Christine Campbell, president of the American Federation of Teachers-West Virginia. Every public school across the state’s 55 counties is closed Friday, according to data from the West Virginia Board of Education.
Organizers reported large crowds Thursday, with lines to get into the capitol to protest wrapping around the building. Campbell told CNN on Friday morning that similar lines were already beginning to form.
West Virginia teachers are back in Charleston for a second day of picketing for higher wages. All public schools in the state are closed for a second day as a result of the work stoppage. Video from Christine Campbell: pic.twitter.com/xpbat4hYFs
— Sarah Jorgensen (@SarahLJorgensen) February 23, 2018
West Virginia employs nearly 20,000 classroom teachers in its public schools and has more than 277,000 students enrolled, according to Alyssa Keedy of the West Virginia Department of Education.