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Kalamazoo Public Schools mom, trustee asks parents against virtual learning to check their privilege

KPS Virtual Protest Continue 03/11
Posted at 5:16 PM, Mar 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-11 17:25:51-05

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — A West Michigan school district is still facing backlash from parents after its decision to remain virtual for the rest of the school year.

There are many Kalamazoo Public Schools parents who are still frustrated by the board's decision to remain virtual and protested for a second week in front of the school district's headquarters on Thursday.

One mother and KPS Board of Education trustee said she stands by the decision as the pandemic has impacted some more than others.

"My opinion is that staying virtual for the rest of the year is the right decision," said Tandy Moore, a parent and trustee for the KPS Board of Education.

It has been one month since Kalamazoo Public Schools announced its decision to remain virtual for the rest of the school year.

While many parents are upset by it, Tandy Moore, a mother and trustee for the board of education said many of those people need to check their privilege.

"While the concerns for their students, you know, emotional and academic needs are absolutely valid. I think that there is a group of parents or a certain demographic that is not looking at the big picture and is not used to not getting what they want in this situation," said Moore.

Moore pointed out that black and brown communities have been more severely impacted by COVID, and parents need to keep that in mind when talking about putting kids back in class.

"They're looking at it from, you know, the aspect of students needing support and needing that social emotional connection with the school building. Also, with parents needing to have a place to send their kids, you know, and having that stability, but we're not looking at at the health outcomes, and that is really, really important," said Moore.

A student protesting on Thursday said the virtual method of learning isn't working for him.

"I’ve been an A/B student for all three years of my high school career. Coming in on my senior year, it has been fully virtual. I have gotten all F’s this trimester," said Benjamin Sierra-Torres, a senior at Loy Norrix High School.

Moore said while the decision has been made and is final, parents need to move forward to keep their children's best interests in focus.

"Regardless of whether or not they feel like we should be in person right now, we can all have conversations about what our students need going forward. That includes this summer recovery for the summer, and then what our school buildings will look like next year," said Moore.

The Board of Education meeting was at 7 p.m. on Thursday. It was live streamed on Public Media Network.

Anyone who wished to speak before the board had to pre-register beforehand.