Parents, students protest MCPS virtual learning program closure

Protestors hosted a "sit-in" Monday morning outside of Montgomery County offices in protest of online school being shut down. 

Parents and students camped out on folding chairs with their laptops while attending their classes outside, demanding that virtual learning does not end after learning Thursday that MCPS’ virtual school would be shuttering. 

Some of these kids who attend online school have serious physical, health or emotional disabilities. 

Parents want Montgomery County to reverse this policy, saying their children would be at risk of going back to school in person. Some of these children are dealing with epilepsy, liver disease or are confined to wheelchairs.  

Now teachers are wondering if they will even have a job left. Not only is MCPS shutting down online learning but they are facing major budget cuts. MCPS is wrestling with a $30 million budget shortage. District-wide, teachers are also on the chopping block and it is unknown just how many layoffs there will be even though the council has increased school spending by $3.3 billion for next year. 

 "We were in a meeting with the superintendent this morning and top leaders who shared with us that they should have a better idea by Wednesday as to how resignations and retirements may help to lower the number of layoffs that would be required," said Jennifer Martin, president of the teachers union.

 Parents are wondering why there seems to be money to payout former superintendents, or settle sexual harassment cases – but not to keep teachers on the job.

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"We have to think about what this is going to mean for students," said Martin.  "It's going to mean less services. It means less support. It means more children in classrooms and less time that the teacher has to spend."