The purpose of this petition is to assert our right to choose, as parents and tax payers in DeKalb County, GA, to send our children to school utilizing the traditional in person face-to-face classroom setting or to select a virtual option based on what is best for each individual student.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “We recognize that children learn best when physically present in the classroom. But children get much more than academics at school. They also learn social and emotional skills at school, get healthy meals and exercise, mental health support and other services that cannot be easily replicated online…”. Additionally, the current AAP recommendation for screen time per day is limited to 1 hour or less. Virtual learning will far exceed this medical recommendation. The Centers for Disease Control also supports the option to send children back to school should families decide to do so.
As parents, whether working from home or outside of the home, we are not qualified, trained, or educated in the way teachers are and cannot provide the quality of instruction and education which is accessible in the traditional classroom setting. Many families require both parents working outside of the home and virtual learning is not conducive to this kind of family structure as neither parent would be available to provide support and instruction as needed. Many students receive their only substantial meals while at school for the day and there are children living in abusive situations where time spent at school is their only safety and reprieve. Still other students have special needs that only a school setting with the properly trained staff is qualified to provide. Finally, an achievement gap is being created that may never be overcome as many DCS families are able to provide supplemental education in the form of homeschooling pods and tutors while so many families are not able to afford this type of scenario. Many high school students who have been out of the classroom for the better part of a year may not return as many students are needing to work to supplement the lost wages of their families.
Many of us parents strongly feel that the decision to eliminate face to face learning leaving only the remote virtual learning choice is a one size fits all approach in which only one viewpoint is accommodated. However, many others do not want virtual learning for their children due to the AAP's recommendation and the associated negative impacts to the children's health and well-being. For the reasons stated above, we, the Parents, petition to regain our choice to decide what is best for our families for the 2020-2021 school year. Unfortunately this situation is so polarizing that many people are unwilling to speak out for fear of being condemned on social media and attacked by friends on either side of the issue, so we thank you for taking the time to read and sign this petition. Please consider signing this petition. Our children deserve BETTER!