‘We’re not being considered’: Black parents protest return to schools without more input

BOSTON (WHDH) - Dozens of Boston parents and students protested outside the State House Saturday, blasting plans to send children back to school as unsafe and demanding better representation in planning for in-class learning.

“We’re not being considered and we’re being impacted the most,” said Shirley Porcena, mother of a Boston Public Schools student.

Protesters said many schools in underserved communities don’t have proper safety measures in place and shouldn’t be open five days a week. They want to see schools have the autonomy to allow hybrid and fully remote learning for the next school year as well.

Dorchester parent LaToya Gayle said communities of color are hardest hit by the coronavirus, but aren’t being consulted for re-opening plans.

“Black people are dying at a higher rate than any other group of people from coronavirus,” Gayle said. “What we’re saying is we have needs and we know what’s going to make us feel safe and we need those options left on the table so that our children are safe, our teachers are safe, our custodians, our bus drivers are safe.”

City Councilor Julia Mejia spoke at the rally, saying people of color are too often excluded from processes that affect them.

“As someone who grew up in the city of Boston, this is not unusual,” Mejia said. “This is how things happen every single day. our young people are sitting in classrooms feeling disregarded and disrespected because that’s what they are accustomed to.”

A spokesperson for state education commissioner Jeffrey C. Riley did not comment on the protesters’ concerns.

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