No One Should be Afraid to Speak Up on Behalf of a Child
Starting kindergarten in the 2020 school year was a whirlwind. So many questions, concerns and hardships for all. As a parent I engaged in town hall dialogs, emails and phone calls to our local school and Board of Education. Parents, staff and the community had mixed emotions about how the school year should look. The reality is though, there needs to be an open acknowledgement that the best option will look different for each family.
As the school year unfolded, teachers started to speak up in favor of needing plan A, but in turn were reprimanded through the Ethix360 platform. Meanwhile, an organization of teachers were openly allowed to speak up about the fact that kids should stay virtual learning in the name of safety. All teachers, regardless of what the opinion is, deserve to be able to speak their opinion to those in charge of making decisions. In December 2020, the parents were surveyed asking about Elementary moving to Plan A and C in January, and roughly 83% answered they would choose Plan A, while 17% chose Plan C. That survey to parents was thrown out the window in January 2021 when the Board of Education voted just 6 days prior to implementation to NOT move forward with Plan A, but stay in Plan B for Elementary School.
Schools and Parents Should Work Together; it Shouldn’t Be Schools vs. Parents
Mere days after the Board voted down Plan A, videos circulated on social media from our local teachers representatives on a statewide organization zoom call outwardly bashing parents for “needing a babysitter” for their kids. That same group bragged how they kept schools closed and had to explain to parents the danger they were allowing their children to be in school. I continued to engage in dialog with tearful staff about the lack of support (parents were not allowed in the building to help), as well as parents whose children were now unsuccessful with school. I knew there needed to be more awareness of the problem. Parents needing teachers for their children’s academics are not lazy. Teachers wanting kids in school were not irresponsible. These ideas were simply their best solution to a multi-faceted situation. Having the courage to brave through the social media branding as “teacher and student killer” and “teacher hater” was due to the fact that I knew someone needed to be willing to unapologetically, logically, respectfully and passionately stand up for our parents and teachers. I respect differing opinions, but shaming and chastising an opposing view is irresponsible of elected leaders.
I continue to engage in dialog and brainstorm ideas and solutions so our schools can function better for our kids and staff. At this current time, COVID-19 protocols remain at large a huge battle for many in our community. I will stay actively engaged in our district’s many weekly meetings and create suggestions as well as volunteering at our school because, quite frankly, our kids are worth it. I want to not only listen, but create all encompassing solutions so our problems are not being addressed only from one side of the situation. Our staff, parents, and community deserve to have a voice that can articulate our differing opinions in New Hanover County Schools and work together for students.