School support staff are sometimes not granted the same workplace protections as other educators. (Adobe Stock)
September 4, 2020
LANSING, Mich. — As Michigan celebrates the American worker over the Labor Day weekend, some of those who support K-12 learning say their contributions are being taken for granted.
There are thousands of paraprofessionals, food-service workers, school nurses and secretaries throughout Michigan, and Jeff Whittle — president of the Macomb Intermediate Federation of Paraprofessionals — said they are integral to how school districts function.
He contends many support staff workers will be back to the job this fall without adequate health and safety measures and equipment in place.
“Everybody’s competing amongst themselves to get their own PPE,” said Whittle. “A paraprofessional told me that their school district told the support staff that they would have masks for the teachers – but the paraprofessionals would have to provide their own masks.”