Detroit parents and other demonstrators, reportedly including teachers, block school buses from leaving a west-side terminal for a second day Tuesday.
"This group of protesters say it's too soon to send kids back to class – that the public health risk isn’t worth it," Jenn Schanz reports at WXYZ from the depot at Greenfield and Tireman.
Tuesday morning’s protest comes as a local group claimed victory Monday – no bus leaving the terminal, which they spent most of the morning blocking with their bodies and then with large tree branches. ...
"Detroit schoolkids cannot be used as guinea pigs to find out what will happen when you start school classes, it's unacceptable," said one protester.
About 500 students who walked, rode public buses or were driven attended the first day of summer classes Monday at 23 schools, according to Nikolai Vitti, superintendent of Detroit Public Schools Community District.
The system is "committed to meeting the needs of our students and families this summer with voluntary summer school while implementing all of the safety requirements and recommendations issued for reopening schools," Vitti tweeted. "This can be done."
In two other Monday tweets, he adds:
Last night and this morning I reflected and prayed on the balance between the concerns of protestors and the needs of our children and families. This is hard! When I visited schools this morning I knew we were doing the right thing for children.— Nikolai Vitti (@Dr_Vitti) July 13, 2020
COVID is not going away. Many of our children need face to face, direct engagement. We should not make that requirement for all children and families. Parents should be able to choose face-to-face or online.— Nikolai Vitti (@Dr_Vitti) July 13, 2020
About 300 teachers applied to fill 170 in-school positions this summer, the superintendent tells the station.
The early-morning protests are organized by a group called By Any Means Necessary (BAMN), which posts:
We cannot allow Detroit students to be exploited as guinea pigs, subjected to a sick experiment to test the state's ability to open schools on a larger scale. Just yesterday, these politicians were posturing with the words 'black lives matter.' Today, they are showing a callous disregard for black lives.
Vitti and Duggan will be held responsible for the deaths of children, teachers, and from the explosion of the pandemic that will surely follow if this goes forward.
The WXYZ reporter tweets from the scene Tuesday:
A man trying to get into the terminal is blocked by protesters. He couldn’t get in yesterday either. Protesters are also now blocking a parking lot across the street @wxyzdetroit pic.twitter.com/OjUeUJtRPQ— Jenn Schanz (@JennSchanzWXYZ) July 14, 2020