Teachers, supporters protest outside Caddo School District’s central office

Protesters are concerned about the return to the classrooms

Protesters push for first nine weeks of school to be virtual only

SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - Close to a dozen protesters are demonstrating outside the Caddo Parish School Board Office in Shreveport.

The group of protesters, who assembled before noon, are concerned about returning to the classroom among rising numbers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bree Garcia, a teacher, said she has many concerns as students, teachers, support staff and administration returns to schools.

Teachers, supporters protesting outside Caddo Schools office

Garcia said her biggest concern for aging educators in the classroom and the lack of protection. She added she’s also concerned for her seven-year-old son who will start the school year in second grade.

"They don't require a mask in second grade and under," she said. "But, I'm supposed to be okay with him sitting in a classroom with twenty-plus kids and hope they're doing the right thing. It just doesn't make sense."

Garcia then added that she doesn't have the choice to keep her son at home because she has to return to her classroom.

“Teachers aren’t babysitters. But as a society, we’ve grown accustomed to having school as a safe place for our students to be while we work and provide for our families,” she said. “And when I don’t have a choice but to send my son back to the classroom, what do you do? You’re asking me to give up my life or my livelihood. I don’t know what to do at this point. You’re stuck at rock and a hard place.”

Caddo School District issued the following statement:

“Caddo Parish Public Schools is committed to providing a safe environment for all students and staff. In preparing for the new school year, the district has worked collaboratively with the Louisiana Department of Health, the Louisiana Department of Education and leading medical professionals in our community to address the spread of the coronavirus locally and to take every precaution to protect all who enter our campuses. In that work, the district has delayed the start of school to Aug. 24 and has worked hand-in-hand with our employee organizations to listen to the concerns of staff and address those concerns with safety protocols in directly alignment to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Safety remains our top priority and will continue to be our focus not only on the first day of school but throughout the year.”

This is a developing story. Stay with KSLA News 12 for updates.

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