Parent says her voice silenced at Shelby County Board of Education meeting

Shelby Co. parents want in-person learning

SHELBY COUNTY, Ala. (WBRC) - A large number of parents were expected to show up at the Shelby County Board of Education meeting Thursday night, and some planned to voice concerns about how their children are receiving instruction.

But one parent who wanted to remain anonymous said she feels like her voice is being silenced because of the way the Board of Education runs its meetings.

“What is on the agenda was not released to the public until 48 hours prior to the meeting and in order to go to the meeting and discuss anything you have to put it in writing 10 days prior to the meeting,” she said.

She said the Shelby County School Board doesn’t want to discuss the concerns parents have about remote and in-person learning, and you have to jump through hoops to get your voice heard.

“It’s almost impossible to speak on the agenda when you don’t know what the agenda is in addition to if you follow those steps it then has to go for approval for you to speak even if it’s on the topic on the agenda you can be denied,” she said.

Many parents have expressed concerns about the district’s hybrid model, saying they’d rather have their kids in school full-time.

But school leaders said this model was only designed to last 4 weeks as they continue to study the data.

“We always want to be able to give an ear to anyone who does have concerns,” said Shelby County Schools’ Public Relations and Community Education Supervisor, Cindy Warner.

“Typically, what happens in those situations is that we end up having board members and other district leaders district personnel that will try to talk to concerned citizens either before or after a meeting,” Warner said.

District leaders said parents have multiple ways they can get in contact with them outside of meetings, including phone calls, emails, and social media posts.

They also said students might be able to return to school for in-person instruction sometime after Labor Day, depending on the COVID-19 data.

And if that happens, parents can still opt to keep their kids at home for remote learning.

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