FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
September 2, 2020
Across the country, students are mobilizing on a nationwide day of action to demand additional stimulus funding so schools have the resources they need to reopen safely.
This Wednesday, September 2nd, students are hosting #DemandSafeSchools rallies to ensure schools have the means to take necessary health precautions during COVID-19, including personal protective equipment, handwashing stations and adequate ventilation. Students will call for comprehensive federal coronavirus relief funding and fight to ensure public schools are safe learning environments for all students.
On a Monday #DemandSafeSchools event hosted by the American Federation of Teachers, Chloe Pressley, a Student Voice Ambassador and a senior at CD Hylton High School in Woodbridge, Virginia said, “As we attempt to learn in the midst of an unprecedented crisis, students first and foremost need more care and support. However, many public schools don’t have funding for mental health services. The counselors at my school are assigned to 400 kids each, and there is one school psychologist for 2,300 students, and that psychologist works with multiple schools! It’s ridiculous to even expect them to remember my name, let alone my story.”
“Schools must provide masks for students who cannot afford or access them. The costs of these supplies will add up to an enormous expense. Our schools were underfunded before the pandemic. The federal government should take responsibility for their mishandling of COVID-19 by providing financial support for all schools who choose to reopen, or leave students vulnerable to the virus,” Pressley also said. “Normally, schools offer breakfast and lunch to students. However, with online and hybrid learning, this promise appears to be in danger. Employing cafeteria staff and bus drivers to make and deliver meals to the many students without reliable transportation all requires more funding.”
Pressley concluded her remarks by saying, “This pandemic is an opportunity for our nation to reinvent the education system and how public schools operate. For too long, our public schools have been starved of funding. To overcome COVID-19, we must provide students with all the resources they need.”
“I’m hosting a direct action in Charleston to demand funding for safe schools because while I’ve just graduated, I have a younger sister and so many wonderful teachers who are anxious about balancing public safety and meaningful learning as they head back to school,” said Maya Green, an Organizing Coordinator at Student Voice and a recent graduate of Charleston County School District in South Carolina. “It is common knowledge that public education is already stretched too thin, and reopening safely, whether in-person, virtually, or using a hybrid model, requires an investment. I want Congress to know that if they truly care about the public they were elected to serve, they need to pass a stimulus bill that funds our future.”
About Student Voice
Student Voice is a by-students, for-students 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that works in all 50 states to equip students as storytellers, organizers and institutional partners who advocate for student-driven solutions to educational inequity. Through direct civic action, Student Voice helps students hold their schools and surrounding communities accountable to the Student Bill of Rights and prepares them to become lifelong agents of social and political change. For more information about Student Voice, visit our website at StuVoice.org and follow @Stu_Voice and #StuVoice on social media.