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TCAC pushes to keep schools closed, prioritize ESE

Posted at 5:19 PM, Jul 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-25 10:50:51-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — For parents with special needs children, changes coming with COVID-19 have been a challenge.

It's one reason why Tallahassee Community Action Committee will be gathering Saturday to march with them on top of their minds.

The group wants special needs children to be the only ones coming back to school in August. Many of them are parents and they're demanding everyone else stick to digital learning, then slowly allow students back once coronavirus cases go down.

Superintendent Rocky Hanna says he wants to give reopening a shot, but if it's unsafe they're not taking any chances.

"We'll go to court and say no, I'm sorry we tried, and we couldn't," Hanna said. "It went south and we ran home. If you want to take our money, we'll do this. My thing is we won't know until we try."

The current LCS plan gives all students the option to come back, possibly on August 24.

The plan superintendent Rocky Hanna has is a hybrid model where kids could bounce in and out of the classroom.

Tallahassee Community Action Committee will be meeting downtown on Saturday to march to the governor's mansion to demand to keep most students home this fall.

For Antwann Hale, this is life after COVID-19.

"Rough, just rough," said Antwann Hale. "We need routine."

His mom, Leon County Schools parent Jessica Hale, says since her kid is on the autism spectrum and when his whole life changed, so did he.

"We scream from the time we get up until the time we go to bed," Jessica Hale said. "Nothing really satisfies us anymore. Before school closed, he was like one of the happiest kids you've ever come across."

But kids like him are the exception that Tallahassee Community Action Committee is marching for Saturday.

"We don't believe it's safe for children, we don't believe it's safe for staff and administration," said Isabel Ruano with TCAC.

Ruano is keeping her child at home come August and wants the rest of the students who can to stay digital and not come back until coronavirus cases come down.

"I just didn't feel safe to send him to school and I didn't feel he wouldn't bring the virus home so I signed him up for online learning," Ruano said. "But I understand I'm in a position of privilege and not everybody's in this position, and the schools should reserve the positions for people who can't do that."

Hanna says he's trying to keep everyone as safe as they can while they figure out their next move.

He'll discuss his plan with the teacher's union at Tuesday's board meeting.