Following the sick-out and teacher-organized protests that occurred in late January, the Renaissance community was shocked to learn that one of their teachers, Math instructor Zachary Sweet, was targeted by an injunction to appear in court leveled by the Detroit Public School district.
“When I received the notice of the injunction, I was confused as to why there was no official reason given for it,” Sweet said. “I was the only RHS teacher to get one, and I still don't understand.”
Tensions have been running high between DPS schools and the district for weeks, culminating in multiple protests and demonstrations. Sweet and many of his coworkers took personal days off of work to join in the rally at Cobo Hall on Jan. 20 to bring attention to building conditions and supply shortages among other grievances.
So why was Sweet singled out?
“I heard that it was only Mr. Sweet, and I thought it was weird,” said sophomore Taryn White. “It looks a little like they tried to use him as an example – that's really messed up if they did.”
Sweet’s students describe him as a dedicated, determined teacher who is never in a foul mood and who does his best to help them get the most out of his classes.
“We've all heard how hard being a teacher is, and he was getting sued, but he still came to work every day with a smile on his face,” said senior Asia Branham. “It's sad.”
The injunctions against Sweet and 22 other teachers were deferred in court, dropped, reopened, and later dropped again by DPS. Still, no official explanation for them was ever given.
“I've worked at Renaissance for two years, and I love my job,” Sweet said. “I always wanted to be a teacher. Some things could be better, and the kids deserve better in those areas, but I love what I do.”