The Leominster Public Schools were the first district in Massachusetts to cancel in-person learning in July after 5 School Committee members with no kids in the public schools voted to keep them closed, despite extremely low positivity rates for COVID. They reopened briefly in November, but then closed shortly afterwards at the demand of the union when case numbers began to spike.
The School Committee responded by allowing most students to return to some in-person classes by Nov. 9. However, when COVID-19 case numbers started spiking shortly after that, Superintendent of Schools Paula Deacon said the district would return to online-only learning through the month of December.
Last week Superintendent Paula Deacon also made headlines after posting pictures on Facebook of her and her husband in Tampa Bay to watch Tom Brady play.
Many criticized the hypocrisy of a superintendent who allows schools to be closed while getting on a plane to attend the non-essential activity of watching sportball.
The union has repeatedly butted heads with Mayor Dean Mazzarella, who has demanded that they reopen schools and declared it a public health emergency. The School Committee members walked out of that meeting rather listening to concerns from dozens of parents who wanted schools to reopen.
In December the Leominster Education Association voted “no confidence” in Education Commissioner Jeffrey Riley after the DESE sent school districts letters demanding to know why they were still closed. Union President Leah Burns wrote an email blasting the state for looking out for what was in the best interest of students and parents.
In addition, the petition states, the DESE and Riley “have failed to sufficiently consider input from individual districts,” “continue to ignore the ever-growing body of scientific evidence showing the direct correlation between in-person learning and the increased transmission rates of Covid-19 in a community,” and “do not demonstrate the depth of understanding nor the impartial judgement needed to support students, faculty, and families.”
“Since our working conditions are the students’ learning conditions, we as educators have a responsibility to ensure that our schools are safe,” Burns said, quoting the petition presented to the education board. “Commissioner Riley and the DESE need to listen more carefully and inclusively to health experts and educators from across the state.”
Kids don’t die from COVID, they rarely get hospitalized if they contract the disease, they’re not spreaders of the virus (mostly adult to child or adult to adult), and the benefits of reopening far outweigh the dangers of not reopening. A controlled classroom environment where kids see the same kids every day is much safer than the current system where parents dump their kids off at learning pods and expose them to a different batch of kids every day. Every other western country in the world has had schools open with no problems, as have other states, and catholic schools in Massachusetts.
Additionally, internal emails from Leominster Public Schools Facility Director Anthony Sciabarrasi in August show that the trouble areas in the school that make it “unsafe” have all been fixed.
Nevertheless, the Leominster teacher’s union is still demanding that schools remain closed “until it’s safe.” AKA, it will never open because nothing is ever truly “safe,” including driving, eating, exercising, or interacting with other human beings during flu season. They posted this on their Facebook page yesterday, but have since removed it after I commented on it with what you are going to read about later in this blog.
Translation – we have zero intention of opening schools this year. We will continue to work from home and collect a full salary while forcing you to quit your job and babysit your kid who is suffering every day from “remote learning.”
Don’t worry though, as long as your kid makes the basketball team they’ll be able to interact with other kids. Leominster had a game this week and kicked butt!
They keep bringing up positivity rates, as if that matters. The positivity rates in July, August, and September were extremely low, but yet they didn’t want to return then either. According to Leah Burns it would be “reckless” to open now despite no evidence or science to back up what she’s saying.
Funny though, because the catholic schools in the area have been open since day one, including St. Leo’s Preschool in Leominster. Guess whose son goes there?
That’s Leah’s son in the Old Navy shirt. I was hesitant to use these pictures because they are children, but decided to for 3 reasons:
- St. Leo’s posted them on Facebook, and this is just a screenshot
- To show that daycares and schools everywhere allow kids in close quarters without masks on, and there have been no outbreaks.
- Because people like Leah Burns are not just hypocrites, they also pure evil. She’s not looking out for the best interest of kids in her district, so why should anyone do the same for her?
Catholic schools cost money to go to, so only those who can afford it can attend. People below the poverty line in Leominster depend on the public schools and need them more than anyone. They’re not open, but the schools where more affluent people can send their children are. This racist policy of school closure championed by the racist Leominster Teacher’s Union is leading to growth in the achievement gap between white and minority students. They don’t care if children are depressed, not having their social and emotional needs met, and are failing at higher rates than ever. Their only concern has been avoiding COVID. They fear being around your children, and they are the ultimate cowards.
But Leah Burns doesn’t fear COVID. If she did she wouldn’t let her kid go to school at all, especially without a mask on. He could easily pick it up there and bring it home to her. No rational person would take a risk like this if they were truly petrified of the virus. I won’t post all the pictures from St. Leo’s Facebook page (although I have screenshotted months worth of them in case they removed the page) on here because I don’t feel like blacking out all the faces (even though they didn’t), but there are thousands of images you can see on their page. Her son is seen in pictures since September.
My daughter does gym class jumping over a piece of paper in her bedroom, alone. She can’t make any friends that way and has no social interactions with anyone her age who she isn’t related to. She suffers because evil teachers like Leah Burns think they’re “unsafe” being around kids, while their own children get to do all the things my kids can’t. They even get to do yoga there!
Meanwhile kids in high positivity rate areas like Marlborough are all back in school.
Nearby West Boylston is also in the red for positivity rate, but they’re being careful and reopening schools anyway because education is important.
They don’t care though. This is all just a big joke to them. Here’s Leah Burns making light of it, and look who commented on the bottom.
The Superintendent of the Tampa/Leominster Public Schools. They’re all getting paid. Their kids get to go to school because they can afford it. They get to jump on planes and travel to Florida for football games. They are sacrificing NOTHING, no matter how many times they tell you that this is harder for them than being in school. It’s a lie, and the parents of Leominster (and any district where schools are not reopened) should be raising bloody hell over this. Enough is enough. These selfish, cowardly teachers work for us, and they do NOT get to determine when your kid gets to go to school. Don’t let them hide behind “only when it’s safe,” because they know it’s safe and they’re not afraid of COVID.
Stop listening to anyone who says schools should be closed. Challenge them to produce evidence that opening schools leads to widespread transmission of COVID. This is the nonsense you’ll get from low IQ individuals like Wendy Anderson who get their “facts” from celebrity TV doctors who don’t want coronavirus to ever end because it would mean they can’t be on TV anymore.
Call out people like Kelly Ellis.
“Do you actually think teachers should put their lives at risk for you.”
Yes, I do. Much the same as I expect the person working at Market Basket, Walmart, Dunkin Donuts, the police and fire departments to do. Luckily they’re not putting their lives at risk at all. All these people have is fear porn. No matter how safe we are they’ll yell “people are dying,” bring up “new strains,” or say “we don’t know what the long term effects are.” These are terrible people who are hurting your children and it’s way past time we stopped playing nice with them or treat them with any sort of respect. When you hurt children you are no longer worthy of that.
Your zip code should not determine your educational opportunities. Look what districts in this state are opened and which ones are closed – Boston, Springfield, Lawrence, Worcester, Holyoke, Brockton, New Bedford. Those have some of the highest poverty rates and largest percentage of students of color.
Now look what districts in this state are open – Dover-Sherborn (4 days a week), Concord-Carlisle (told parents who don’t want to send their kids to school that they can homeschool), Shrewsbury, Rochester/Marion/Mattapoisett, Weston, Belmont.
I could go on and on but you get the picture here. A mostly white teaching staff in inner city schools like Leominster are demanding that they be kept away from students of color, who they believe are riddled with disease. Parents in these districts are less civically engaged and less likely to advocate for their children. Meanwhile, in affluent towns the schools are all reopened because the parents won’t stand for it. Thus the achievement gap grows and the most needy students continue to fall behind. My message for parents in places like Leominster is to not stand for it anymore. Write to your school committee and superintendent and DEMAND that schools reopen immediately. They work for you, not vice versa.
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