SALEM, Oregon — Thousands of educators and parents rallied in Salem on Monday calling for legislators to fully fund education in Oregon.

More than 4,500 people attended The Oregon Education Association organized event.

Teachers want smaller class sizes, help from trained aides and more counselors.


"Our children deserve wrap-around services, that include treatment, counselors, care, and restoration," said 4th grade Portland Public Schools teacher Nichole Watson.

Watson said her small elementary school only has one counselor and many of her students are struggling with things like homelessness.

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"Imagine at some middle and high schools, students are showing up traumatized and impacted by regular things that happen in life," said Watson. "And they don't have someone to unpack that trauma with."

Michelle Eddie Milot said she's the only psychologist for 4,000 students in the Greater Albany Public School District.


Federal guidelines suggest one counselor to 250 students.

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“Our students deserve better," said Eddie Milot. "In my neighboring districts of Corvalis, Lebaonon, Jefferson, Sweet Home, they don't even have school phycologists. They don't even employ them."

Teachers told KGW disrupted learning continues to be a huge problem in Oregon.

"I've had four students this year make suicide comments so 10-year-olds are coming to school with a whole suitcase filled with issues," said teacher Kathy Hamil.

Paraeducator Sydney Kasper held a sign shaped like a chair with the words "End Room Clears" written on it.

"Classrooms are in crisis as you guys have pointed out," said Kasper. "There are kindergartners throwing chairs in classrooms and it's not because they are bad kids, it's because they aren't supported."

Teacher Melinda Ryan was also at the rally. She's one of eight teachers in KGW's Classrooms in Crisis investigation into the rise of disruptive incidents in schools across Oregon.


Ryan said she's glad the problem is being talked about, now they need money for solutions.

"So we can have more trained staff on site to support our students and teachers," said Ryan.

Representative Barbara Smith Warner agrees.


The joint education committee member says they are working on a proposal for a dedicated revenue stream to fund schools.

"We're going to do this, this session. We're ready to go. I'm eager to get it done, everywhere I go, people ask, are we really going to do this, this year? And I say, yes, we are."

Do you have something you like to add about our “Classrooms in Crisis” series? Email us at CallCristin@kgw.com