CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — Mere hours before Cranston schools would normally open their doors, children and parents around the city awaited a last-minute decision to keep schools open on Good Friday.
Western Hills Middle School is the only school in the city to have classes canceled due to staffing issues.
More than 200 teachers requested the day off after a court order issued last week ruled against the Cranston School Department.
They argued they had the right to have Good Friday off, since other teachers were granted days off for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
Superintendent Dr. Judith Lundsten sent a letter to parents warning them they may have to cancel classes Friday as a result of the teachers’ requests.
“Parents have been very reasonable, but they’re very frustrated,” she said.
The school department said that excluding Western Hills, 3,642 students were out of school Friday for unspecified reasons, making the absence rate 37% for the day. The normal range, they said, is 10% to 15%.
A combination of substitutes and administrators stepped in to teach classes to cover the loss in staffing, including Dr. Lundsten – who taught first grade at Hope Highlands Elementary.
Meanwhile, the question remains whether or not those who took Good Friday off will be paid. The answer to that is pending the final resolution of the teachers’ lawsuit.