WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WTVF) — A group of Williamson County parents want to make their own choices for their students. They're demanding that they be given the option to send their students back to school, or keep them home for remote learning.
Laurie Chimento has students at Page Middle School and Renaissance High School. She wants them to go back as she’s concerned about their mental health. “I feel like we’re not paying attention to the mental health effects of what this shut down means for our kids, and if this were just two weeks, I think we’d have a lot more patience with it, but I think after living through a shutdown starting March 6th, I think that we’re worried this is going to be used for a lot longer.”
Chimento said a group of Williamson County parents will be holding a rally on August 4th outside the administrative office. “I don’t hold it against the parent who wants to keep them home though. I think we should both have our own choice. Governor Lee recently said, I think whether it was online or in-person, parents deserve a choice.”
As of now, kindergarten through 2nd grade will be in person, and 3rd grade through 12th grade will be remote for the start of the school year due to COVID-19.
“We love our teachers, we love our school system, but we don’t agree with this decision," Chimento said.
She estimates her children will be on the computer for 6 hours a day. “I just don’t think it’s healthy to be on screens for that long.”
Chimento doesn’t believe the case count should be the only factor for returning to school or staying home. "That’s what we’re saying, you can’t only look at that. You’ve got to look at the whole picture, what this does to kids, what the CDC is saying, what pediatricians are saying, it’s bigger than just that one point.”
The district spokesperson, Carol Birdsong, sent us a statement saying:
“These are challenging and difficult times for everyone. We recognize that opinions vary, and we remain hopeful that students who will be starting the year learning remotely will be able to return to campus soon.”
“I realize you have a very difficult job to do, and you’re not going to make everyone happy," Chimento said, "Let the parents choose for their child.”
Chimento said many families are worried about how working parents will manage virtual learning, as well as how special needs students will adjust to it.
Parents are circulating a petition. You can read the petition here.
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