High School Student Uses TikTok to Organize a Student Strike in Support of Her Teachers

Photo Credit: CCSD

It’s no surprise that teachers in many school districts are not paid their worth.

I mean, how do you put a price on the people responsible for teaching the next generation? I guess some districts view it as a low priority.

This debate over teachers salaries and benefits hits home, as I have many family and friends in the education field. Many times, budgets are cut, and teachers end up pulling out their own wallets to pay for supplies and books for their classrooms. No questions asked. Because their students need a quality education, regardless of what budgets say.

And a lot of students don’t see that.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

That is until 16-year-old, Gillian Sullivan’s TikTok video hit social media.

TikTok was once as a lip-syncing app, but it has changed its features to include short, funny videos, much like the late Vine.

Sullivan took to the platform and voiced her concerns for the teachers of Clark County School District in Nevada. The teachers are planning to strike on September 10th in order to protest denied raises that had been promised by the school district. Sullivan’s video was used to gather students to strike along with them in a show of solidarity set for September 5th.

“Our district is refusing to give teachers — who spent the past three years earning enough credits out of their own pockets, spending extra hours outside of school to earn credits to get a raise. And our school district won’t give it to them. Like, literally, they won’t pay the teachers what the teachers earned,” Gillian says in the video.

Negotiations for salary increases have been going on for three years according to KSNV:

“…the union says teachers are owed for professional development. The union says 2,500 teachers are owed $5,400 under an agreement with CCSD three years ago.”

Sullivan told BuzzFeed News that this is personal. Her mother has been employed by the district for 20 years.

 “I can’t even imagine how frustrating it must be to work at a job and be promised a raise contractually and then not be guaranteed that.”

With that passion, she took to her TikTok account.

“That night, I posted on TikTok, my Instagram story, and my Snapchat story, and I posted the TikTok I made on Twitter as well,” she said. “I just figured I might as well use social media because I know all my friends are on it, and it’s a good way to get stuff out there.”

Photo Credit: CCSD

The result? A viral video receiving 35,000 likes. No surprise, as CCSD is the fifth-largest school district in the nation, educating 315,000 students.

The aftermath of this sensation has been positive for Sullivan.

“A lot of people in my classes have been talking about it. Today one of my teachers brought it up, like, ‘Hey, who’s not gonna be here the fifth?’ and like 10 kids raised their hand in that class alone. A lot of teachers have said they’re proud of me and really appreciate that I’m getting students involved.”

Here’s to hoping her voice continues to make an impact for teacher at CCSD and other districts.

“This raise issue isn’t just about money — it’s driving teachers’ passion out,” she said. “When teachers aren’t passionate, it really affects the students. When teachers don’t care about they’re teaching, students don’t care about what they’re learning. And we’re not that important currently, but we’re the future of the nation and the school district.”