Western New York Students First formed to give parents a voice

Posted at 4:32 PM, Feb 12, 2021

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Throughout the pandemic, parents say they have have noticed the toll it's taking on their children.

"All of our students are being adversely impacted mentally, physically and emotionally," Tarja Parssinen, a Williamsville parent said.

It's why a group of parents with children in the Clarence, Williamsville and Buffalo school districts started Western New York Students First, a group giving a voice to students, parents and everyone in between.

"Lets have a voice and a better seat at the table, or more seats at the table, because right now it doesn't feel like they have many or any," Jonathan Rich, a Williamsville parent said.

The group believes that parents and students should be a part of the decision making process. They are pushing to safely reopen schools full time, having strength in numbers.

"Parents are cautious to speak up sometimes and I think it's important for them to know that their voices are being heard," Amy Leach, a member of WNY Students First, said.

The group has parents from districts all over Western New York, each new member empowering others and showing them that they are not alone in the difficulties of the pandemic. The group is looking to be present at every meeting, demanding a seat at the table with school boards in every district.

Ultimately they say this is a show of solidarity, looking to help struggling parents and to end the shaming they receive.

"It is okay for things to be really difficult, because it is for a lot of us and their is no shame is saying that," Parent and member Dana Hensley said, "parent shaming needs to end."

For more information about Western New York Students First, visit their website here.