NJ family says social media photo used against them in battle over remote learning

MIDDLESEX, New Jersey -- A battle over remote learning has gotten personal in New Jersey after parents say a school official used a photo from a private social media post of students without masks against them.

Parent Roger Sanchez said it all started with fun in the snow one day.

"Most of the time they were running up and down and sledding down the hill, and running and happy," Sanchez said.

About the same time, he said another parent sent Middlesex School District administrators an email. The email asked when the district's schools would reopen its buildings to students.

Classes have been all virtual since the start of the school year.

Sanchez said that email was answered by administrators which included a picture of his kids, as well as others, playing in the snow. The children did not have masks on in the photo.

The administrators said the lack of masks and social distancing in the community is part of the problem.

Parents are furious that the picture was pulled from a private social media account, Sanchez said, and used against them and their kids.

"It said that they were violating CDC guidelines, and they weren't. It was like, 'Wow. Why-why, what?'" Sanchez said. "They can't wear a mask because they'll get wet in the snow and they only came together for the picture for a moment."

The school district responded to our sister station WABC-TV's request for an interview with this written statement from Superintendent Frederick D. Williams:

"Like all school districts throughout the country, Middlesex faces unprecedented pandemic-related challenges. The Board continues to do everything it can to return to in-person instruction on the earliest possible date. Assuming our numbers continue to improve or even if they stay the same, we will be reopening our school buildings for in-person instruction on Monday, February 22, 2021. Students will report within their assigned Hybrid Cohorts."

Sanchez said he and other parents were excited about sending their kids back to school but now he is concerned - not because of COVID-19, but because of possible fallout.

He said they are asking for the resignations of the superintendent and assistant superintendent.
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