PORTLAND, Ore. — Teachers across Oregon are participating in a walkout in numbers so large that many school districts will be closed.

The Oregon Education Association said that the walkout is aimed at "advocating for students after years of disinvestment."

“The last few years I’ve had 30, over 30 kids in my classroom. And that’s too much," second-grade teacher Erin McKee told KGW. "They deserve my attention. They deserve so much more and I know with better-funded schools we'll be able to do that."

The various rallies and marches will host thousands of teachers, community members and parents clad in red as a reminder to the state legislature to fund schools with a proposed $2 billion tax package.

Organizers said Wednesday afternoon that a Portland rally and march saw 25,000 people attend.

Watch: #RedForEd rally, march in downtown Portland

RELATED: Gov. Brown releases plan to offset rising school pension costs

Supporters in Salem gathered to rally at 1:30 p.m. and marched to the State Capitol at 3 p.m. The rally will be streamed live on KGW.com

We have been following the issue of classrooms disruptions across Oregon for months. The concerns of parents, teachers, and lawmakers echo the reasons OEA says they are marching: large class sizes, missing mental and behavioral health supports, and cut programs like art, music, and P.E.

RELATED: Classrooms in Crisis: Teachers, parents and lawmakers brainstorm solutions

A total of 23 school districts across Oregon closed preemptively, including:

Washington County

  • Beaverton School District
  • Hillsboro School District
  • Tigard-Tualatin School District
  • Forest Grove School District

Clackamas County

  • Lake Oswego School District
  • North Clackamas School District
  • West Linn-Wilsonville School District

Multnomah County

  • David Douglas School District
  • Gresham School District
  • Parkrose School District
  • Portland Public Schools
  • Reynolds School District

Early release

  • Salem-Keizer School District- school to close 2.5 hours early, no PM Preschool

After months of reporting on disrupted classrooms, we recently sat down with parents, teachers, and lawmakers to brainstorm solutions. 

No idea was off the table. This discussion was taped from beginning to end as teachers laid out their frustrations, parents their concerns and lawmakers listened.

Classrooms in Crisis: Solutions aired Wednesday, May 8 on KGW and KGW.com.

KGW has interviewed dozens of teachers and school administrators about an increase in verbal, physical and sometimes violent disruptions in Oregon and Southwest Washington classrooms. We’ve received emails from hundreds of additional teachers who tell similar stories. Many teachers say they don’t have the proper training, support or resources to deal with this disruptive behavior. The teachers don’t blame the kids, pointing out that many students have suffered trauma in their lives; however, they say the current law makes it difficult to handle these incidents effectively. In many cases, they are forced to clear all other students out of a classroom until a disruptive student can calm down. We will continue to tell these stories and push for answers from lawmakers and school officials. 

Do you have a comment or idea related to our Classrooms in Crisis coverage? Please email callcristin@kgw.com

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