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Panhandling teacher returns to the street, advocating for classrooms in wake of walkout

Posted at 9:20 PM, Jul 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-19 23:17:24-04

CATOOSA, Okla. -- A couple bucks here or there doesn't seem like much, but to one teacher it means everything from pencils to Clorox wipes.

Teresa Danks realized this method could help her classroom last summer.

"My husband said to me, he said "well I guess if it gets any worse you could just go make a sign and go to the street like the panhandlers. And I said, you know what? I'm going to do that," she said.

Danks' message got national attention. What started as panhandling for her Tulsa Public Schools classroom became something bigger. The teacher created a GoFundMe and collected $40,000 for teachers across Oklahoma.

One year later, Danks returned to the same Catoosa corner, drawing attention to the cause one more time.

"I was being a little snarky but I wanted to make a point that we literally are begging for the supplies and resources that we need to do our jobs well," she said.

In just 30 minutes on Thursday Danks raised close to $100 and immediately went to Walmart to stock up on supplies. Now she's planning an event to spread the wealth to teachers in the area.

"Teachers are begging. Every single year they're begging for the resources and the supplies that they need to do their jobs and that is just ludicrous to me," Danks said.

Other teachers say how daunting it can be walking into your own, bare classroom for the first time.

"I sell a lot of things, I'm very crafty. I love making wreaths and things. I sell those. I've sold jewelry that I don't wear anymore. We find ways to just supplement the income so that we have that extra money to put back into our classrooms," Moore Elementary teacher Blake Martin said.

Danks does not plan on returning to the classroom this year. In the wake of the walkout, she's focusing her attention on a non-profit to help other teachers.

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