Striking teachers fail to hold the line

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Saucon Valley sports will go on during teachers' strike

The Saucon Valley (PA) School District School Board says the show will go on for the district's interscholastic athletic programs even though district teachers are on strike. And while the district has found substitute head coaches for each of its sports, the teachers union has apparently backed down from an earlier mandate that coaches should not cross the picket line to coach.

"Members have been encouraged not to cross the [picket] line if they coach, so as a result, we don't know what's going on as to the coaches," said librarian Joanna Lemay, speaking for SVEA president Vivian Demko, who did not return phone calls seeking comment.

According to the Saucon Valley High School athletic department, 429 student-athletes from grades 7 though 12 participate in fall sports for the district. While coaches who are employed as teachers in the district can choose not to coach, those who aren't employed in a capacity other than coaching are under no obligation to honor the picket line.

"Right now, our entire fall sports schedule is to run as planned thanks to people in the community stepping up," Sandra Fellin, the Saucon Valley superintendent, said this afternoon

"Not all of our coaches are teachers," she added. "Many of those assistant coaches who are not staff are stepping up to coach. They get my whole-hearted thank you for keeping up normal activities including band and cheerleading -- for these students. After all, that's what these activities are for, the students."

Assistant football coach Ed Chromczak, who is not employed by the district other than as an assistant coach, has agreed to act as head coach during the strike, according to two sources.


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