Manhattan Beach parents throw second Kids Need Classrooms! rally
by Donald Morrison
More than 100 parents, teachers and concerned citizens showed up for a rally at the Manhattan Beach City Hall on Wednesday, Feb. 24, to protest the pace at which the Manhattan Beach School District is resuming on campus instruction.
The “Kids Need Classrooms!” rally was organized by a group of the same name and is the second event of its kind, following a rally in November that included a speech by Manhattan Beach resident and actor Vince Vaughn.
Kids Need Classrooms! was co-founded by Tiffany Wright, a parent of three Manhattan Beach school children and founder of the South Bay Open Schools Facebook page.
“We’ve been shamed by the media, by the politicians, and by the unions, who continue to instill fear in our teachers and our families in order to keep schools closed,” Wright said. “It is clear each day that school closures have been a costly mistake.”
Matthew Brach, the Palos Verdes Peninsula School Board president and Ross Novie, founder of Los Angeles School Uprising, also spoke at Wednesday’s.
Brach said the danger of Covid-19 spreading in schools has been misrepresented in the media and that he’s proud of both his school district and Manhattan Beach for partially opening schools at the beginning of February.
“There will not be a sense of normalcy until we fight for a sense of normalcy,” Brach said. “This is not a time to say, ‘Well, we got some of our kids back. That’s good enough.’ What will be good enough is when our kids have a rich and meaningful experience at school.”
LA School Uprising was founded in November after Novie learned his two teenagers would have to continue remote learning through the spring semester. It’s described as a nonpartisan group that seeks to represent parents in Los Angeles who are passionate about reopening schools.
Novie works in television and helped get Universal Studios reopened for filming in June 2020.
“We figured out how to get film workers back,” Novie said. “Teaching is tough because you’re in a classroom, but film is even harder.”
Novie said that coordinating a film production under Covid-19 guidelines was difficult, but not impossible, and that the LA County’s school district hasn’t tried hard enough to make in person classes work under current case rates.
“If you don’t think we can go back to school, maybe you’re a flat earther,” Novie said. “There’s science, there’s data and the experts are clear: we can open schools.”
Over a dozen parents and former educators spoke at the end of the rally, during an open mic portion of the event.
Britney Nucci, a parent with two children in the MBUSD, said she’s noticed an increase in feelings of loneliness and isolation among her children and she’s upset that school employees aren’t considered essential workers.
“I know that our teachers, board members and County officials are going to the store and getting their haircut, living their lives,” Nucci said. “How is it that everyone else’s job is deemed essential, but the most essential of institutions is deemed too dangerous?”
The rally began Wednesday afternoon, just before the regularly scheduled MBUSD School Board meeting. As a result, none of the Board members were able to attend. But School Board President Jen Fenton issued a statement, which said in part, “It’s unfortunate that no one from the school board can attend and say to participants we’re fighting with you. We know it’s been almost a year and we’re equally frustrated. Please know that we’re working hard to bring back everyone for in-person instruction.” ER
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