“Reopen Pennsbury” Rally Calls For In-Person Learning

"Reopen Pennsbury" protestors gather in front of the Pennsbury Administration Building. Photo by Rick Rickman.

A rally in front of the Pennsbury Administration Building is calling for students and teachers to get back in the classroom.

More than a hundred Pennsbury School District parents and students gathered outside of the administration building in Fallsington Friday morning. They advocated for the school board to reopen schools for in-person learning.

In August, the Pennsbury School Board voted for virtual learning only through the end of January 2021. All students, regardless of IEPs and 504 Plans, must learn from home under the plan.

The rally kicked off at 10 a.m. with attendees taking turns on the microphone. Many of the speakers focused on the need for students to socialize in person, to better accommodate students in special education, and too much screen time.

Some held signs saying, “Special Needs needs special attention,” “Facts over fear,” and “My mental health is important too.”

A younger Pennsbury School District student speaks to the crowd. Photo by Rick Rickman.

A group of elementary aged children gathered on the grass. Some got up to speak.

“Who thinks it’s fair for us to go sit in our room and do work on the computer?” a younger student asked. “And then go to sleep and wake up. Repeat and repeat and repeat. Do you think that’s healthy for any of us?”

Another child called for getting back to playing on the playground.

Several of the parents focused on special education. Some said their children would have breakdowns when computers failed to work or they had too much screen time.

“Whether your child is special education or in a regular education classroom, we learned a long time ago that kids should not be on screens,” said Dawn, a parent.

Another mother of two students in the district called for an “appropriate” education.

“Online is not appropriate for third grade boys. Anyone who has one knows,” she said. “Nor is it appropriate for a sixth grade girl who has never been in the school to socially not have access to other children in the environment middle school fosters. We can do better.”

Other parents pointed to the school board allowing fall athletics.

“I am just appalled at how this school district has handled this situation,” said Larissa. “If our kids can play tackle football, which I’m all in favor of, then they can go back to school.”

A Pennsbury High School freshman student speaks to the crowd. She questions why she can work but not go to school. Photo by Rick Rickman.

One student at Pennsbury High School questioned why she was able to go into work four days per week and see customers face to face, but not go into school.

Another complained of too many distractions in the household making it difficult to focus. Many students said online learning was less effective for them.

The next Pennsbury School Board meeting is October 15, 2020.

A crowd of more than 100 people gather to advocate for reopening Pennsbury. Photo by Rick Rickman.