16-year-old Gillian Sullivan urged her classmates to skip school in Clark County, Nevada after teachers were denied pay rises they were promised
Whether they’re lip syncing for representation, or using dark humour to raise awareness about gun violence, TikTok users are giving new depth to the social media platform. Now, a teenager in Nevada is using the app to organise a school strike in solidarity with her teachers.
16-year-old Gillian Sullivan posted a video to TikTok which opened: “Hi, this video is for kids who are in Clark County school district, so if you’re not in CCSD, keep scrolling.” The teen goes on to address a conflict between the school and its teachers, and urges students to strike with her on September 5.
“Our district is refusing to give teachers – who spent the past three years earning enough credits out of their own pockets – a raise,” Sullivan asserts to the camera. “Literally they won’t pay the teachers what the teachers’ earn.”
In an interview with Rolling Stone, the teenager explained that her mother has been a teacher in the district for over 20 years, and was promised a raise after getting extra credits from self-funded college classes, but never received it.
“I don’t think this is fair,” Sullivan complained in her video, “and I’m sick of our district thinking it’s OK to walk all over teachers and students, all of the time.”
The county was in conversation with nearly 2,600 teachers from the Clark County Education Association, many of whom had threatened to strike on September 10 if the district didn’t agree to terms in their new employment contracts. The teachers reportedly spent thousands of dollars on advanced degrees in order to acquire a raise, only to be denied it afterwards.
“If you’re sick of this,” Sullivan continued, “and you want respect for yourself as a student but also for your teachers, please strike September 5, because I’m done and you should be too.”
After Sullivan’s video went viral – at the time of writing it has 43k likes – Clark County and the teachers’ union reached an agreement, meaning neither the teacher nor student strike will go ahead. Who said social media was all bad?