West U parents protest online learning for 2020-21 school year

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Houston ISD has made the decision that students will return to school in the fall, but virtually. Some parents in West U aren't happy about that decision.

"Let's try this out. Hopefully, this isn't going to last very long. If things improve, there will be some opportunities for back to face-to-face learning. We'll see how it goes," Lydia Zatopek with Harris County Department of Education said.

A group of parents at West University Elementary School believe that's counterproductive, and their little ones need to learn in person.

"Children thrive from social interaction, learning from their peers, competing with their peers, comparing themselves to their peers, putting on clothes and presenting themselves, and learning manners each day inside the classroom," mom Christine Flood said.

Flood and her neighbors plan to have a Red Apple protest on July 27 to make their voices heard.

While they understand the seriousness of COVID-19, they feel like there shouldn't be a "one-size fits all" plan.

"A month ago, there was a forum where it was a consensus that we would have more than just one option of only virtual learning. That there would be more options of in-person learning," Flood continued.

Harris County Department of Education said, for the sake of our children, parents and teachers have to make the best of it.
"They didn't sign up to be fully online, but that's unfortunately the situation that we're living in. Hopefully, it's not permanent. We know that. It's going to end eventually," Zatopek said.

Flood said there's no time to wait, and there are risk factors with every job.

"Virtual teaching is only half the job, so it will only be half the pay or less because parents are giving up their time that could be spent otherwise at work."

Red Apple organizers said they will continue to protest each Monday at West University Elementary School at 8 a.m. until their request is taken seriously or HISD reverses its decision.

UPDATE: The Red Apple organizers released the following statement about teacher pay:
"In response to teachers having half pay, we are sorry. Teachers deserve to be fully compensated. We are not debating this. It is not the message we want our protest to stand for, nor the collective whole of our group."

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