AKRON, NY (WKBW) — “We want our rights!” shouted an Akron Central School student.
A couple dozen Akron High School students marched out of class around 11:30 Thursday morning to protest the return of remote learning.
The students crossed the street to cheering parents and community members and were joined by schools Superintendent Patrick Mccabe, who listen to students pleading not to go remote.
“Remote learning is not the way to learn because I can't learn that way,” remarked Richard O’Grady, student.
The Akron School District issued a letter saying there are now 175 students in quarantine.
There are 30 positive COVID cases in the Akron District. 17 of those cases are among high school students and six of the cases are on the JV Football team that is now on pause.
The district says the Erie County Health Department recommended the high school switch to remote learning for one week.
But some parents told the superintendent the district needs to take a stand against the guidance issued by the county.
“How come the JV coach is still teaching — he had more exposure than anybody,” shouted a parent.
“I have a son in the middle school who has an IEP who has completely regressed because of the education he did not receive and I don't blame the teachers they did the best that they could,” explained an Akron mom.
Another school parent complained to the superintendent that last school year’s mostly remote learning forced her two children to go to summer school.
“Almost as a punishment because they couldn’t be taught the correct way,” replied the mom.
Parents say they were also upset because the superintendent warned students not to walk-out.
“Absolutely we told our kids we expected them to stay in school — not miss out on any further learning,” explained McCabe. “And simply walking off campus — we can’t have that happen.”
“And these kids should not be punished for standing for something they believe in,” parent stated.
The superintendent says some of the students who were not signed out by their parents for this protest broke the Code of Conduct, but he hasn't decided yet if they will face consequences.
“We’ll sit back — we’ll take our time — we'll evaluate what happened today and will make steps to determination of how to move forward,” replied McCabe.
McCabe says while he is “empathic” to parents and students, the district is faced with an unexpected surge of COVID cases.
“But I will just remind you this our 13 day of school and we've had 30 positive cases — we did not see those kind of in a year and a half,” responded McCabe.
Still, students tell me they need to be in school because it's affecting their own learning and mental health.
“It’s not just the education aspect — it's the social aspect — it's the athletic aspect — it's a lot of different things that play into it,” replied Ayana Dzialek, Akron senior.
“I’m in 11th grade and I will fail 11th grade if I can not be in school and I can learn,” O’Grady said.
“This was kind of my last chance to have something real with high school and it's being taken away,” Dzialek commented.
Dzialek says she was also upset that the superintendent discouraged them on their walk-out,
“And the superintendent today told us if we came out here there would be consequences, but at the same time he told us to be a tiger and stand up for ourselves,” Dzialek recalled.
While the high school students will be in quarantine, they will be taught remotely starting Monday.
They’re scheduled to return to in-person learning October 4th.