Government shutdown closes Pre-K daycare - WHLT 22 Connecting the Pine Belt

Government shutdown closes Pre-K day cares

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DURHAM, N.C. -

With a game of "Ring Around the Rosie" included, it wasn't your typical protest.

On Monday, a group of parents, teachers, and kids joined in on the government shutdown debate by hitting the streets.

Some daycare schools at federal facilities, like the Environmental Protection Agency in the RTP, have closed down.

The more the 50 Pre-K teachers who ran the school were furloughed without pay.

"Since we've been out a couple of weeks, we thought it's time to come out and share our message with the public," said EPA employee Erin Hines.

"We were told we would be shut out of school because we're on campus at the EPA so the gates are closed and we're not allowed inside," explained Sarah Shenton, a teacher at the day school.

"We're just really upset. We love our jobs and it's hard for the kids being away from their friends this long, it's just a really bad situation," said Shenton.

After the shutdown more than 93% of employees at the EPA were furloughed along with the teachers, but some parents are still working and rely on the school to look after their kids.

"It puts them in a really difficult situation not having a place for their children to go," said Shenton.

"These {teachers} are contractors but they take care of our kids on a daily basis," said Hines.

For the close to 200 kids that go to the day school, it means missing out on exploring, playing with their friend, and the joys of "circle time."

For the teachers, it means missing a pay check with no back-pay.

"It's hard to eat when you're not paid," said Hines.

In the meantime, teachers like Sarah are babysitting on their own time to help parents out.

They just hope the government will take a lesson from the kids...and learn to play nice.

"I hope it just ends soon and we can go back to school. That's all we really want is to do our job," said Shenton.

Jonathan Rodriguez

Born in California but growing up in South Carolina, Jonathan Rodriguez joined WNCN in June 2013 as a digital journalist. More>>

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