“Hell no! We won’t go!” Parents and teachers protest reopening St. Mary Parish schools

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CENTERVILLE, La. (KLFY) — Residents in St. Mary Parish protested their district’s plans to reopen schools.

“Hell no! We won’t go! Hell no! We won’t go,” chanted the crowd outside the school board offices.

Confusion, insecurity, and outrage bounced off the front doors of the St. Mary Parish school board offices.

Each person concerned with what an August 10 start date could mean for the health of the district.

“It’s like we’re held hostage because of this pandemic. Just going back into the school we know the risks are high,” Thai Browder told News 10.

Browder teaches Art at Centerville Elementary and Middle Schools.

She expressed a virtual option would be safer for the first nine weeks or until it’s safer to not transmit COVID-19.

“There’s always a spike just with the flu virus, so if that spreads so easily – because I’ve been a victim of it – I believe this will be more drastic more horrific,” Browder said.

A former educator of the St. Mary Parish spoke out against the school board’s reopening plan, mocking a sign which read, “We love our employees.” She said, “This sign right here that tells the biggest lie in the world.

The school board’s reopening plan calls for students to alternate on campus and at home learning twice a week with internet access and devices provided for students who need it, but parents argue not enough has been considered.

Craig A. Mathews is the father of a St. Mary Parish high school senior. He also is a parish councilman and argued, “All of the evidence and all of the information and data points to it’s not time to open these schools, not in a brick and mortar fashion.”

Mathews also alleged St. Mary Parish is not even ready to teach students virtually. He said, “We are in a fix right now, and I believe that we demand and we deserve some answers.”

The St. Mary Parish School Board will meet Thursday at 4 P.M. to discuss adjusting the school calendar. Dozens of parents, teachers, former educators, and more in Wednesday’s protests say they plan to attend.

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