New York parents are filing a lawsuit over the time it will take for schools to reopen.
Led by City Councilor Joe Borelli of Staten Island, New York, a group of families with school-age children is suing the city for “the harm caused by screen-based distance learning” to persuade officials to shut down schools open. The group is filing a class action lawsuit against the New York Department of Education seeking an injunction to end distance learning and return children to class, according to a press release from Borelli’s office. The city council questions whether the remote area is adequately equipped to meet state laws on educational standards.
“We opened big cities, there are models in Dallas and Miami,” he tweeted. “We don’t have to settle for the best that Chancellor Carranza and Mayor de Blasio can do.”
When the move was announced, he added, “We are here today to announce that we are opposing the New York Department of Education for failing to comply with the New York state constitutional public school system. Correctly. The New York State Constitution guarantees public education in joint schools. We call for the DOE to reopen and give parents an actual public school option that complies with the state’s constitutional requirements for public schools. Otherwise, our lawsuit will continue and the courts will have to force the DOE to reopen it. I am excited to see how The DOE tries to defend distance learning as a fulfillment of this constitutional right. I would be shocked to hear people on the other side of us try to advocate distance learning that meets these requirements. “
Photo by Thomas Park on Unsplash
Attorneys Mark Fonte, Lou Gelormino and James Mermigis are said to represent the plaintiffs in the class action lawsuit. Families have raised concerns about the time it will take for the state to normalize education through the restoration of a traditional class structure.
“Here’s the bottom line… our kids aren’t in school. Our children. This is not a restaurant. This is not a business. These are our children and we will do everything we can to fight for our children, ”said Gelormino.
Fonte added, “I promise you, as a father, that we will do all we can to end distance learning and get our children back into the classroom they belong in.”
Education Department spokeswoman Danielle Filson suggested the group was misinformed, stating, “This is a distraction from real news: today we are officially open to face-to-face learning in every class and students continue to receive high quality for five days Class week in a way that will protect our communities and prevent the virus from spreading. As we continue to face a global pandemic, our reopening plan prioritizes the health and safety of our students and staff and follows guidelines from health professionals at the federal, state, and local levels. “
She referred to the recent decision by Mayor Bill de Blasio to partially reopen schools for families according to a hybrid personal and virtual model, instead of teaching a full week in person.
Kate Reilly, student and daughter of MP Michael Reilly (R-South Shore), supported the litigation. Speaking from a student perspective, she said, “This is one of the most important years of my school career. It’s ridiculous that we can’t be in school full time. I speak for every single student I know and we miss school. We need school. We miss making contacts. We miss our teachers. We miss learning. We don’t get anything from the virtual school. “
NYC parents file class action lawsuit to force public schools to reopen