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Delay school reopening: Tallahassee car-noise rally outside of school board meeting

By Kristin Ervin

photo of homemade protest sign: 100% online = 0% dead.

Tallahassee, FL – Around 50 people gathered outside of the Leon County School Board meeting on the afternoon of August 4. The group met in front of the building where the Leon County School Board was meeting to discuss the district’s plans to reopen schools for in-person lessons on August 31. This action came shortly after the community learned that the second of two staff members at a local school had died after contracting COVID-19.

Organized by Leon For a Safe Return to Campus, the Tallahassee Community Action Committee (TCAC) and Graduate Assistants United FSU, the action was an opportunity to show school board members that the community has grave concerns about the consequences of deciding to reopen schools at a time when there are substantially more cases of COVID than when the district decided to switch to virtual schooling last spring.

The coalition proposes starting with 100% virtual schooling for the first nine weeks of the semester, and the requirement of 14 days with no new cases in the county before beginning to reopen physical schools.

“As an educator we have an obligation to report any suspected abuse or mistreatment or if something is not safe within our schools,” said local teacher Michelle Pletch, “We are telling you now it is not safe.”

Other speakers included Tallahassee City Commissioner Jeremy Matlow, Leon County Commissioner Bill Proctor, and several local teachers and students. After speeches wrapped up, a loud car caravan drove loops around the block before filling the parking lot outside of the school board meeting. Protesters displayed signs reading “How many deaths are acceptable?” “Lives over dollars” and “Jordan Byrd and Karen Bradwell deserved better.”

Kristin Ervin (she) is an activist with the Tallahassee Community Action Committee.

#TallahasseeFL #COVID19 #LeonCountySchoolBoard #CarProtest #DelaySchoolReopening