(Nashville, TN, July 26, 2020) The Metropolitan Nashville Education Association (MNEA), in conjunction with Tennessee Safe Return to Campus, will be leading a mock funeral procession through downtown Nashville in protest called “Dead Students Can’t Learn, Dead Teachers Can’t Teach” on Monday, July 27th. According to the event page on Facebook, the protest will be a “funeral procession honoring the death of safe opening policies”. Educators, parents, and allies will form a car caravan starting at the Nashville Farmers Market Parking Lot (Rosa L. Parks side) at 5pm.
“Coronavirus infections are continuing to spike in Tennessee. While we are fortunate to have a district that is committed to starting the school year online to keep everyone safe, we are the exception,” states Amanda Kail, President of MNEA. “Educators, students, and parents in many districts across the state have largely been left to fend for themselves. As a result, there are no consistent protections in place for safely reopening schools in Tennessee. We are saying to Governor Lee and State Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn more must be done to guarantee the safety of our educators, students, and our families across the state.”
Organizers of the event aren’t just worried about the health and safety of teachers. “We need to make sure bus drivers, paraprofessionals, and cafeteria workers are also safe, as they work in conditions that make staying safe very difficult. And our students’ families are also at risk. One in ten Tennesseans doesn’t have health insurance. Exposing our families to so much risk when there is no safety net to support them is a recipe for disaster,” Kail adds.
Among the demands are to keep schools online until there are no new cases of COVID-19 for fourteen consecutive days, to provide additional funding for schools to provide PPE, ensure facilities are healthy and clean, and make sure all students have the support they need to access online learning. The action is a part of a national wave of teacher activism aimed at safe and equitable reopening of schools. Similar actions are planned to occur simultaneously in Memphis and Knoxville on Monday.
Those seeking more information can find the event on MNEA’s Facebook page.