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Parents stage sit-in at Shelby County Schools board meeting

Published: Sep. 14, 2021 at 11:08 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn (WMC) - Parents staged a sit-in at a Shelby County Schools (SCS) board meeting Tuesday night to fight for virtual learning for their children.

Things got a little heated.

“Our children are dying. You don’t care. Speak with us to protect our children,” a parent yelled out during the meeting, which prompted security to escort all of them out. But some refused to leave.

According to SCS, that’s when officials called the Memphis Police Department to clear the room.

“This is about our children. It’s about nothing else. It’s not personal or anything like that. We don’t want to see another parent grieve or lose their children,” said parent Traci Ervin.

We reached out to SCS about the scuffle.

They said in part, “The District is sensitive to the frustrations of families and continues to encourage them to contact state legislators.”

Currently, virtual learning is not allowed in most cases in Tennessee but some schools have been allowed to switch to remote learning.

While hybrid models, including remote learning, are prohibited in Tennessee, the Tennessee Department of Education has allowed districts to apply for temporary remote learning if COVID-19 has interrupted effective in-person instruction.

The state allowed schools to start applying for temporary remote learning two weeks ago.

So far, 18 school districts have applied for the waiver in 25 schools.

The Tennessee Department of Health reports more than 29,000 children between 5 years old and 18 years old have caught COVID-19 in the last two weeks.

“Any kind of instruction or other strategy to keep kids learning when they’re out of school for a little bit is really important,” said Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital Pediatrician Dr. Toni Whitaker.

So far in Shelby County, only two schools in Orange Mound have applied for waivers as well as Gestalt Community Schools.

Journey Hanley Community Schools was approved with conditions. Arrow Academy of Excellence’s first grade and Power Center Academy Southeast were approved fully for the waivers.

Nearly all the districts in the state that applied for waivers have been approved.

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