DeKalb teachers, parents rally at district headquarters over return to in-person learning

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — Teachers in DeKalb County rallied out in front of district headquarters on Monday to protest the return to in-person learning.

Many of the educators that showed up told Channel 2′s Tyisha Fernandes that they were worried about possible retaliation from the district, but still showed up Monday, saying risking their lives in the classroom is worse than losing their jobs.

The DeKalb County teachers and paraprofessionals said they didn’t know what else to do other than protest.

School officials are requiring them to report to their classrooms to teach kids face-to-face on Wednesday.

Fernandes asked school officials if the schools are clean and disinfected and the district said they were, but the protest organizer, Deborah Jones, said that’s not true.

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“I know the old buildings we have in this district. They’re not clean and they’re not safe. They’re too old to be clean and safe and they haven’t done anything to make the ventilation better. We have schools that have no heat in the winter and no air in the summer. So what makes them safe to come back in? It doesn’t make sense,” Jones said.

Some parents agree with the teachers, saying now is not the time to go back.

“I wish they would ask us. We would say let her do it online, let them get vaccine and then let them come. They should not have to choose between work and life, work and health,” parent Fouzia Raza said.

DeKalb County said teachers just got a salary increase through a mid-year salary step.

Fernandes said she received several emails from teachers that said it wasn’t really an increase, and many said they are actually getting paid less now after having to take unpaid furlough days in August.