Some teachers take personal day to attend State tournament

Park classes to remain in session


Ava Ashby

Teachers Bobby Otto and Chad Austad cheer on the Park volleyball team during its first state match. Otto led cheers throughout the match to promote Park pride.

Marta Hill, Isabel Kjaer, and Kaia Myers

As the Park varsity volleyball team prepares to play in the State tournament Nov. 7, assistant Principal Jessica Busse said the number of teachers who can go to the game is determined by the number of students who are attending.

“A lot of people are wanting to go, and that’s great, we fully support that. But we also need to make sure that we have enough staff in our building to cover all of the teachers and all of the classrooms. It’s all about ratios and numbers,” Busse said. 

According to Busse, teachers must take a personal day to attend the State volleyball tournament because of a directive from Human Resources.

“While we would all like to be there, we have 1,500 students and are also responsible for educating all our students and ensuring the safety of our building,” Busse said. “While it would be great to just shut down the school, it doesn’t work like that.”

According to math teacher Bobby Otto, in order for the school to function normally most teachers must stay in the building. 

“The way that we could go to the game is we would have to take a personal day,” Otto said. “So that was something that some teachers were not happy with.”

Otto said only four teachers are allowed to have a personal day at a time, so many teachers could not attend the State tournament because of that rule. 

“(It was decided who would go) first come first serve, (the administration) sent an email at (around) 4 p.m. yesterday, I responded within the first seven minutes, so I was one of the four,” Otto said. 

The staff members that are attending the State tournament are those who have been with the team all season, according to Busse.

“Mostly it’s the staff that have been supporting the volleyball girls through the season and have been present for games and are a part of the fan club that has been in the stands since day one, since before we were the Section champions,” Busse said.

According to Otto, he wants to attend the State tournament to continue his support of the team. 

“I’ve watched the volleyball team five or six times already this year and they are a lot of fun to watch and it’s State,” Otto said. 

According to Busse, the administration wants everyone to be able to support the team, but they have only had four days to plan. 

“We want everybody to be a part of the excitement and we are trying to figure out what that looks like. We had four days to turn it around, so it has been a little busy and we have a school to run too,” Busse said. “We are trying to figure out how our entire school can be a part of the fun, we just haven’t figured out all the details yet.”

Busse said there will be chaperones on the buses with students, but if a teacher has taken a personal day, they are not responsible for students. 

“If you are taking a personal day, you get to enjoy the time and that’s part of the balancing act of whether you are working or not. We want to make sure all of our students are taken care of,” Busse said. “We would hope that our staff, just because they are human beings, would act accordingly and help us, but that’s not an expectation.”