TEMPE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - A large group of parents and students with Tempe Union High School District rallied outside the district office Wednesday against the proposal for the “Return to School” plan next year.

They said the district's proposal did not reflect what most parents want, and they're trying to create change before the final decision is made. While they stood rallying outside, district board officials had a closed-door meeting inside.

student rally

Dozens of students and teachers rallied for change outside the office of Tempe Union High School District.

“What’s the concern from parents?” asked reporter Briana Whitney.

“We just want options. We want them to give us the choices other districts in the area are providing their families,” said Lori Bastian, a mom of three boys within the district.

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Last week, TUHSD presented their “Return to School" proposal that offers two choices for students: either all online classes or a "flex" model with one day of in-person class and three other days online.

Students said while they understand the need to have an online option, many said it didn't work for them when they had to transition to that at the beginning of the pandemic.

“I found it really hard to motivate doing my school work at home. Just wasn’t the same,” said Rylan Gray, who will be a sophomore.

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“I thought it was very difficult because every school was different on how they graded, so it took a toll on a bunch of students and how their grades were affected,” said Piper Allen, who will be a junior.

Allen said only being at school one day a week is detrimental for more than just learning.

“I’m really involved with my school. I love to be in sports and student council and I want to be able to be the voice for the students,” she said.

The district said the proposal they shared took into account the CDC and the state's safety measures and said it needs to reflect the situation Arizona is in right now as COVID-19 cases continue to spike. But these families said as long as precautions are in place, they want to be in the classroom.

“It’s actually interacting with teachers and principals and coaches and your friends,” said parent Jeff Beck.

TUHSD told Arizona’s Family officials are taking these families' concerns into consideration and will discuss the topic again at their July 1 board meeting.


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