ARLINGTON, Va. (WDVM) — The Arlington Public School System will soon be facing a lawsuit over the lack of in-person learning options. This comes almost 300 days after schools stopped offering in-school learning.
Russell Laird is the parent filing the lawsuit. He said this lawsuit is a long time coming, after parents like himself have felt ignored by the school board while watching their kid’s learning experience suffer. Laird said, “This lawsuit has come after months of many parents working together.”
Laird said he and other parents have been working together to get their children back in the classroom by giving input to the school board. He said, “Surveys that have been done, where parents have indicated a preference of in-school learning that have been ignored.”
“We’ve been told so much about a plan in the works. The school board and superintendent have no credibility left,” he said. “It’s been so frustrating, and all we’re asking for is a choice, just like we indicated, so many parents did, back in the summer.” The battle has made it’s way to the streets with signs saying, “Open schools now,” placed across the city. Next, it will make it’s way to the Courts. “I’m working now with an attorney to finalize that draft and to file it soon,” said Laird.
One final component Laird needs is money to back it up, and with a GoFundMe started on December 30, 2020, he is well on his way. He explained, “We’re around $3,500. We’ve made a lot of great progress in a couple days. We have a lot of way to go, but I am confident we will get there and move forward.”
He hopes for an outcome that will get his second-grader back inside of a school building, and sooner rather than later. “We’re seeing the children are not doing well, proven by actual grade reports. Is that acceptable? We don’t think so. We think we deserve better, and we think the Virginia State Constitution says that.”
A state constitutional violation is what will be the main argument for reopening the schools, according to Laird. He said, “If what’s being done now, choosing an inferior path to education, if that’s not a violation of the state constitution, then those words mean nothing and that’s what we’re going to argue in Court.”
WDVM reached out to the Arlington School System for comment, but has yet to hear back.
The protests against the school system are ongoing, on January 9, 2021, a group named “Arlington Parents for Education” has planned a protest at Quincy Park to mark the 300th day since schools have been closed.