School is back in session Monday for Dedham, Massachusetts students after a deal was reached to end the state's first teachers strike in over a decade.
Officials from the Dedham Public Schools district and teachers union announced the tentative agreement during a press conference Sunday.
The four-year deal includes 10 days of paid family and medical leave; new policies on sexual harassment and student cell phone use and what the DEA calls a "fair" compensation package.
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"I'm really happy to be back so I can teach my kids and be back in the classroom with them," high school math teacher Kelsea Whittemore said as she walked in to begin classes Monday.
The members of the Dedham Education Association, which had authorized the strike last week by a 248-2 vote, ratified the contract in an overwhelming vote, according to a statement from the school system.
The strike came after two years of negotiations stalled over a disagreement on salary, health care, student cellphone use in class and policies on sexual harassment.
Members of the community joined teachers on the picket lines, including high school junior Daniel Pasciuto.
"If they're not getting the help they deserve then they can’t do their jobs to teach us," he said Monday.