Kalamazoo Public Schools' parents take action against district to get students back to classrooms

Posted at 5:28 PM, Feb 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-25 19:42:33-05

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — It has been exactly two weeks since Kalamazoo Public Schools (KPS) announced they would remain virtual through the rest of the school year.

Since then, some parents have taken matters into their own hands in hopes their kids can return to in-person learning.

Parents have banded together through a fundraiser to take legal action against the school board's decision to remain fully virtual.

A father of two students has spearheaded the entire thing, and in just 24 hours has already raised over $800 of the $30,000 needed to retain a lawyer.

"I want our school district to mirror surrounding community school districts," said Brian Montgomery, a parent and the organizer of the fundraiser.

Brian Montgomery has two Winchell Elementary School students, and he and others have banded together against Kalamazoo Public Schools in hopes of sending their kids back to the classroom.

Another mother of two who was protesting outside of the Kalamazoo Public Schools' administration building agreed.

"It’s time to open. Everybody is doing it. They did it based on science, and I think it’s time for our students to have at least the option to go back if they want to," said Erin Cox, a parent of an elementary and high school student.

The action comes back after the district's decision to extend virtual learning through the rest of the third trimester. While parents said they understand a vote took place, they are asking the district to look at the science.

"This is the reason we are charging forward with legal action, because it is our goal to give KPS administrators the time to discuss their disagreement with the governor, the president, the CDC, the NIAH and the World Health Organization, and so we are going to give them that opportunity," said Montgomery.

As for what the parents are asking for?

"A form of in-person learning for the rest of this year, with a full five days, this fall, but so long as the remainder of this year would have an in-person option that doesn't require substantial self-teaching in the home," said Montgomery.

A Kalamazoo Central High School student also created a petition for students who want to return to in-person learning. As of Thursday evening, the petition had over 580 signatures.

As many other districts will head back to school Monday, parents are hoping Kalamazoo Public Schools will have a change of heart.

"Maybe they can learn something from our neighbors all around us, including Ann Arbor, Portage. Rather than reinvent the wheel, look, follow their lead, and get our kids back in the classroom because they desperately deserve that," said Montgomery.

FOX 17 News reached out to Kalamazoo Public Schools for comment, and they said the district had not been informed of the efforts by organizers, so they didn't have any response. In addition, they said the superintendent would be providing more information about the third trimester's learning model at the virtual Board of Education meeting at 7 p.m. on Thursday.

Watch the board meeting here:

Follow FOX 17: Facebook - Twitter - Instagram - YouTube