HORSHAM — Dozens of area parents and students came out for a reopen schools rally Sept. 17 at Hatboro-Horsham High School.
A second rally was planned for Sept. 24 in front of the administration building/Keith Valley Middle School.
Rally organizer Clarice Schillinger wrote in an email to MediaNews Group: "Over the past several months I have personally witnessed many children including my own be isolated from school, teachers, friends and sports. Skyrocketing depression and anxiety in many households within our community.
"We want to be clear with our intention — our rallies are in no way asking our teachers, parents, or students to return that have underlying health conditions or those that do not feel safe. Our rallies are about having the choice! The choice to choose from full in-person instruction, hybrid, or virtual. From the most recent presentation created by the superintendent and his team the numbers indicated that Hatboro-Horsham schools should be reopened for the hybrid learning model. Frustrations have built from this presentation as there was little to no direction given for any plan of return."
She continued, "Several schools both private and public within Montgomery County have reopened and are thriving. In fact, private schools have returned to full in person instruction and have been faced with turning away potential students due to reaching capacity. This option has been chosen by many parents within the district. With this route these parents are now expected to pay high school taxes along with tuition. Those that cannot afford this option or have been turned away due to capacity are left with no other choice but to have their children sit in front of screens for over 6 hours in complete isolation.
'It is important to include, a survey was completed and shared at a school board meeting that indicated a clear message: the majority want a choice for hybrid or full in-person learning. During this same meeting a vote was taken for the reopening of schools. Four of the school board members took the survey responses into consideration and voted ‘yay’ for the return to schools in a hybrid model. Unfortunately, the five other board members voted ‘nay’ dismissing the needs of our community."
In a press release, Schillinger said that future rallies are scheduled, as follows:
- October 1st 5pm until 7pm in front of Simmons Elementary
- October 8th 5pm until 7pm in front of Hallowell Elementary
- October 15th 5pm until 7pm in front of Blair Mill Elementary
- October 22nd 5pm until 7pm in front of Crooked Billet Elementary