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Judge deals setback to parents fighting to return all students to school full-time

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Posted at 12:38 PM, Apr 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-28 13:02:58-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — A State Supreme Court has denied a preliminary injunction from a group of parents looking to return their children to the classroom five days a week.

The parents, from both the Williamsville and Orchard Park Central School Districts, initially filed for an injunction in State Supreme Court in hopes of resuming five-day in-person learning for students. In the court filing, the parents cite a number of issues, ranging from behavioral to academic, that they say have arisen since the start of remote and hybrid learning in March of 2020.

The full court documents can be read here.

Another hearing on the matter is now scheduled for May 7, with Judge Emilio Colaiacovo ruling the complaint has merit and requires further examination. The judge acknowledged the issues raised by the parents involved cannot be ignored, adding that it certainly shows the irreparable harm they (students) will face if Williamsville and Orchard continue to rely on the Hybrid/Remote Learning models.

The parents involved claim the current teaching models being offered by both the Williamsville and Orchard Park districts violate the New York State Constitution and the New York State Education Law, and declare the model to be "arbitrary and capricious."

A major sticking point in the case surrounds new guidance issued by the CDC back on March 19 that eased social distancing restrictions from six feet between students to three feet.

In his affidavit, Acting Superintendent of Williamsville, John McKenna responded saying the, "Hybrid/Remote Learning Model is consistent with approved state guidelines and that “nowhere” in the reopening guidance is full-time, in-person instruction required."

Meantime, leaders in the Orchard Park School District are cited in court documents contending "that the policies adopted meet and satisfy the general well-being of all students."