Detroit teachers on Monday organized a \u0022sick-out\u0022 to call attention to the school district\u0026#039;s \u0022abominable\u0022 problems, including filthy buildings and overwhelmingly large class sizes, and called on officials to follow through on long-held promises to salvage the city\u0026#039;s educational system.\u0022Detroit kids matter!\u0022 teachers chanted at a rally Monday afternoon at the A.L. Holmes Elementary School, which they say is infested with mice and beset by structural problems, such as wet ceilings and broken entry steps.One educator taking part in the rally, Theresa Williams of Burton International Academy, held up a sign that read, \u0022I have 39 first-graders in my classroom.\u0022According to the Detroit Free Press, nearly 60 public schools were closed Monday, with more than 50 percent of the teachers at those schools calling in sick over the \u0022deplorable environmental and learning conditions that Emergency Manager Darnell Earley has long ignored.\u0022 The\u0026nbsp;Press ran a list of the schools closed by the action.Ivy Bailey, interim president of the Detroit Federation of Teachers (DFT), said Monday, \u0022The deplorable conditions in our schools have created a serious environmental and educational crisis that is being ignored.\u0022\u0022The children of Detroit, Flint or any other community should not be exposed to atrocious, environmental hazards,\u0022 Bailey said.Among the teachers\u0026#039; demands are improved working and learning conditions, decreasing classroom sizes, increasing teachers\u0026#039; benefits and salaries, and restoring local control to the Detroit Public Schools (DPS) system, which was revoked in 2009.Hours after the rally, state superintendent Brian Whiston, the top school official, called on Earley to respond to the teachers\u0026#039; demands and address their health and safety concerns, including rodent infestations, crumbling walls, broken equipment, and no heat, accompanied by staff and supply shortages—conditions which Bailey said have only worsened since the economically devastated city was placed under emergency management.\u0022I care deeply about the safety and well-being of teachers in Detroit, just as I do the students,\u0022 Whiston said. \u0022They all still need to be in the classrooms teaching and learning, though. If buildings have health and safety issues, they need to be addressed immediately with the district administration and all appropriate agencies.\u0022At the rally, Kimberly Jackson, a seventh-grade teacher at Paul Robeson Malcolm X Academy, told supporters, \u0022No other district ... would allow their children to be inside a school building under those conditions. Many of our (classes) are way oversized—some with as many as 50 children inside one classroom. It’s time out for that. It’s time out for biz as usual, it’s time out for working in deplorable schools.\u0022\u0022We are set up for failure,\u0022 Jackson said. \u0022Our goal is not to shut the schools down. Our goal is to have a quality education for our children. ... We’ve been trying to make do with what we have. Our children deserve better.\u0022Jaime Diaz-Herrara, whose child is a student at Western International High School, said Monday, \u0022I wouldn’t consider a classroom of 45 kids conducive to teaching and learning. I wouldn’t say that a classroom with black mold creeping up the walls is conductive to teaching and learning. I wouldn’t say that roaches and rats scampering through hallways are conducive to teaching and learning. It’s disgusting, unsafe, unhealthy and not the way we should be educating our kids in Detroit or anywhere else.\u0022The sick-out follows a meeting by a group called Detroit Strikes to Win, which gathered Sunday night to discuss the action and a possible district-wide strike.