The Rochester Teachers Association held a special session Monday for teachers affected by sweeping layoffs across the Rochester City School District.
It has been three days since teachers and staff received those layoff notices. The drop-in session offered an opportunity for educators to prepare for everything they need to know in the coming weeks.
"It's really helpful because I never thought I was going to go through it, so I'm not really familiar with a lot of this. It's been really nice to have people will talk to you and help us through it,” said Emily Schliff, a first grade teacher.
At the meeting, the union answered questions about unemployment benefits, health care benefits, and the possibilities of being rehired by the district in the future because they will automatically be placed on a recall list.
"It's been a whirlwind of emotions. Right now, I'm really struggling. I did talk to my kids today so my kids all know, I spent 45 minutes in the vice principal's room comforting one of them and she just cried and cried about 'What are we going to do without you,'” said Courtney Kuhl, a fourth grade intervention teacher.
While this was unexpected for some teachers, they have concerns for their students.
“It's definitely [about] my students. I feel really sad to be leaving them here and they’re first graders so I don't, I really don't know how they're gonna take the news yet, so it's hard,” added Schliff.
Chandler Scott, an attendance home school assistant said, "I was devastated. Honestly, I worry a lot about the students that I work with. I'm at three different schools and so it's a lot of kids are just not going to have that resource always there for them."
Scott's role was created after the death of Trevyan Rowe. Scott and 14 other home school assistants that are part of the BENTE union were laid off.
“I do home visits every day, I go out to the homeless student, make sure they're okay personally, check in on their emotional needs, physical needs, mental needs, whatever they need, and get them whatever resources they need,” he said.
Although Scott's days in the district could be coming to an end, he is committed to giving his student all of the tools they will need before he leaves.
"You know, I love the district, I’m a product of the district but they gotta do better like is this is just unacceptable," Scott added.
The union said it plans to have other interviewing opportunities for teachers next week. Some schools systems that have reached out with available positions are in Buffalo, Syracuse, Albany, and surrounding districts in Monroe County.
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