A group of North Texas parents wants the option to choose in-school or online-learning for the new school year. The parents formed the group "kids first," and took their argument straight to the Tarrant County Judge on Monday.
The plaza in front of Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley's office filled up fast Monday morning.
Parents and their children showed up with signs and banners, asking the county to lift its health ban on the start of in-person learning.
They each showed up with their own reason, like a mother of 3, with one on the way, who said her daughter has special needs. "She's improved so much, I have teachers to thank for that. I think teachers are essential workers and kids should have the right to be in school," she said.
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The judge was set to meet privately with a small group of parents like Tatiana Miller. "What we're going to create is a society like I grew up in Mexico, where there is no chance because you have no access to education."
Judge Whitley listened in the private meeting but then came outside to the plaza and listened to almost everyone gathered there who wanted to speak.
"My kids didn't get to get back to school, I'm really worried this whole thing keeping kids virtual is harming children," said another mother.
They jockeyed back and forth over expert opinions, numbers and what the school leaders are saying publicly and privately.
The bottom line, parents don't want the government to make choices for them.
"We're not saying one size fits all. We're saying we need to work together to figure out a solution to get kids back in school, said Miller.
The decision to issue the public health order came from the health department, not the judge, but nonetheless there are no plans to change anything after Monday's meeting. The judge urged the parents to keep the conversations going, even encouraging them to speak to school board leaders and the governor.