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Classes canceled at Union Day School due to teacher shortage

Classes at Union Day School will be canceled through the end of the week. School officials said they plan to fully open next week for in-person learning.

UNION COUNTY, N.C. — Union Day School, a charter school in Weddington, will be closed for the rest of the week due to staffing shortages, officials confirmed.

School administrators sent a message to parents Wednesday evening saying the school would be closed through Friday with plans to open fully on Monday, Oct. 25. Officials said there would be make-up days for missed classes. 

"We apologize for the inconvenience but for the safety and security of all students and staff, we must make this decision," Union Day School said in the message. 

On Thursday, Union Day School issued the following statement to WCNC Charlotte: 

"The board is working to resolve the staffing issues so that our students can return to in-person learning soon."

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The shortage comes days after former principal Matthew Hamilton was fired by the Union Day School board. Jim Lovell, chair of the board, said the school was going through a "tumultuous time." Parents and students protested Hamilton's firing through the week, saying he was unfairly removed from his role. 

"Anytime somebody speaks up against this board, they're fired," Andrea Krehbiel, a teacher and parent, said. "[Hamilton] stands up for what is right. He pushed back, asked questions that now the staff is asking and we want answers to them."

In a message to parents Tuesday, Lovell said Hamilton was fired for cause and he was offered a severance package. Lovell refused to give any further details, citing "legal reasons." 

Maria Veloz brought her son to Thursday's protest.

“Kids should be in school. They should not be protesting to have their teachers back, to have their principal back," Veloz said. "They should be learning, and it's unacceptable that we have to do this."

"The responsibility of the Board is to ensure the safety of the school and deliver quality education to the students," Lovell wrote. "In doing so, the Board has hired Dr. Tom Miller and Dr. Mark Tracy as interim executive directors. They will be responsible for day-to-day operations of the school as well as helping UDS during our search process to find an executive director to lead a school that has K to 12." 

Lovell also provided parents with a list of actions the board said it plans to take to give better transparency moving forward.

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