Fremont parents threaten to sue school district if classrooms remain closed

Bay Area

FREMONT, Calif. (KRON) – A group of Fremont parents are now threatening to sue the school district if classrooms remain closed for in-person learning.

In a letter sent to district officials, parents demand that schools reopen by April 26th.

The school district superintendent says they are reviewing the letter right now but at this point, it doesn’t seem to change the decision made by the school district just two weeks ago to keep schools closed for the rest of the spring semester and instead prepare for a full return in the fall.

This demand letter was sent to the Fremont Unified School District, its board members, and superintendent on Wednesday threatening to sue the school district if classrooms don’t reopen by April 26th.

“Very frustrating that this is not working. Every day you hear the news of another district that is opening and ours is not opening,” Padma Gopalakrishnan said.

Padma Gopalakrishnan is one of the frustrated parents who are part of the group that calls themselves ‘Fremont Parents for Reopening’ behind the 7-page demand letter, sent by their Southern California Attorney Lee Andelin. 

In the letter, he says the school district quote:

“Has no rational or legal excuse to keep its students in distance learning, where they are lagging behind academically and suffering emotionally.”

This letter comes two weeks after the school district stopped negotiations with the teacher’s union and announced that schools would remain in distance learning for the rest of the school year.

“There’s about a thousand students who have gotten more D’s and F’s than ever. Distance learning is obviously not working for them and they deserve to have in-person options,” Luisa Sangines said.

Parents Luisa Sangines and Benjamin Rogus are among many who are worried about the impact of distance learning on students and say there is no reason children shouldn’t be back in their classrooms as they’ve seen in nearby school districts.

“It is frustrating to see it can be done and is being done in some places and here is where we want to be clear. This is not a conflict or dispute with teachers. We actually think we’re on the same side as teachers. We think this is a problem of a political decision the union made to ask for demands that are not scientifically supported at an inappropriate time,” Benjamin Rogus said.

The teachers union president, Victoria Birbeck-Herrera disagrees with any claims of teachers making political decisions or requests and says she too is disappointed that the school district ended negotiations for the spring semester.

“The district decided they just have to ultimately look to the future instead and we’re going to have to do the same at this point,” Victoria Birbeck-Herrera said.

In addition to demanding schools reopen by April 26th, parents also demand that the district board members approve a plan by April 30th for a return to full-time, in-person instruction.

The school board is set to review the fall reopening plan at its meeting on April 21st and again, in a statement today, the superintendent assured that the school district is preparing for a full 5-day-a week return next school year, starting in August.

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