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Parents rally for a voice in reopening plans for schools

19 hours ago

ROC for Education Freedom rally in Penfield
Credit Christina Higley

A Facebook group started by a Webster mother of three rallied Thursday outside the office of the Superintendent of the Penfield Central School District, Dr. Thomas Putnam.

Christina Higley started the group ROC for Educational Freedom with the aim of having a voice when it comes to the future of their children’s education amid the pandemic.

The opinions of group members run the gamut - she says some want schools to fully reopen, while others want districts to give families options because they don’t feel comfortable returning to school or they may have immunocompromised children.

Credit Facebook.com

"The main message from everybody is we want what’s best for our children,” Higley said. “I think we can all agree on that.  It’s just a matter of not everyone is going to agree on how we happen to go about this reopening,"

Higley said that parents need to be their children’s biggest advocate.

“We need to work with the school districts, and most importantly there has to be communication and transparency between our state, our school districts, and the parents,” Higley said.

Putnam, who is also president of the Monroe County Council of School Superintendents, said he can empathize with the group’s frustrations.

"Because as parents are unsure, so are school superintendents as we wait for guidance from the state on what requirements are going to be in place for us to return to learn in September," Putnam said. "As long as we know what the rules, regulations, guidance is, we can make just about anything happen.  The frustration is that we still don’t have that guidance on what should and will need to be in place before we can reopen and return to a traditional classroom setting."

Putnam is encouraging parents to reach out to the governor and elected officials with their thoughts on how schools should reopen.