Dozens of 'Open Schools Now' signs stolen, trashed in Arlington

The debate over whether kids should be learning in or out of schools is getting ugly in Arlington. So much so, dozens of signs that said “Open Schools Now” have gone missing.

“Some of them have gotten stolen and neighbors have found them in trash cans,” parent Russell Laird said Friday, standing near 100 new signs that had just been delivered. “I told people, keep count of how many were stolen, come back with double.”

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And that’s exactly what other parents like Cindy Lersten plan to do. She’s also part of the group Arlington Parents for Education and told FOX 5 that just the other day, she spotted a jogger removing a sign.

“So I stopped and I said you’ve got to put that back. That is a violation,” Lersten explained. “And she said COVID’s out there, and I said that is not right to be taking any sign down. You need to put it back.”

It shows just how heated the debate has become, with some parents demanding their kids learn in person, and others like Melissa Alexander – who was at a rally this week in Prince William County – wanting the reverse.

“We think the safest thing for our students and our educators is for us to continue with virtual learning,” Alexander, who’s also a high school English teacher, said Wednesday.

Either way, Laird and Lersten said everyone should be entitled to their opinions – and whichever signs they want to post, as well.

“No matter what the sign is, open schools or for your political preference, they all should stay up,” Lersten said. “Everybody’s entitled to their own voice.”