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Teachers and parents from across Florida gather at Governor’s Mansion to protest reopening of schools

Published: Aug. 10, 2020 at 10:15 AM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - A group of parents and teachers gathered at the Governor’s Mansion Saturday to ask for schools to stay online this fall.

The group says it doesn’t want schools to open for in-person instruction until it is safe to do so.

“So it started with local action, emails and phone calls to their local leaders and this all culminated today with us all showing up at Governor DeSantis’ mansion to speak out,” explained Pensacola teacher Deshaun McKenzie.

These parents and teachers tell WCTV they’re not just speaking up for their own well-being, but also for those who have no choice but to go back to school.

“So we know that the students most likely to return to brick mortar are students who come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds,” said Jacksonville teacher Alex Ingram. “They then will take this virus back to economically disadvantaged communities.”

This group says they want to continue to speak out because they know their words have weight.

“As a parent and being united with all these teachers, one of the things that we’re finding is we hold the power when we work together,” exclaimed Leon County parent Anthony Demarco.

While some parents face economic pressure to send kids back, the folks at the Governor’s Mansion want the science to dictate the move.

“It’s simple, fourteen days no new cases, positivity rate 5% or under, and then let’s look at bringing these kids back in,” said Demarco.

Some teachers tell WCTV that they feel communities will suffer because their leaders weren’t prepared.

“They had six months to figure out a plan to make sure those kids eat even when they’re at home,” said McKenzie. “They’ve had six months to make sure that we can all be safe, and instead they backed down.”

Ingram explains that although teachers where many hats, they can only do so much.

“I can do a lot of amazing things with construction paper and glue sticks in my classroom, I can’t cure COVID-19,” said Ingram. “So asking me to do that, the impossible, is something that I’m not going to do.”

These parents and teachers say that they will continue to protest until they feel that their lives are considered more important than a profit.

Copyright 2020 WCTV. All rights reserved.

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