Philly teachers, students, parents join national protests for school improvements

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Monday, August 3, 2020
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Philly teachers, students, parents join national protests for school improvements

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Teachers, students, and parents protested in front of Philadelphia School District headquarters Monday morning, demanding improvements in several important areas.

A caravan of protesters honked their horns and encouraged others to help amplify their demands.

"I have asthma. I'm a teacher. This is COVID-19 and I'm here today just because this is the most important thing," said Cortnee Love.

Love, a second-grade teacher at Lewis C. Cassidy, helped lead nearly three dozen protesters in front of school headquarters on North Broad St.

It was all part of the National Day of Resistance for Safe, Healthy, and Equitable Schools protests across the country.

They held signs with demands that read, "Asbestos and lead-free schools by November," and "Equity just isn't a buzzword."

"The conditions at our school are so deplorable. They found asbestos in our building," said Love.

Philadelphia schools will be all-virtual at least through November 17, but protesters say now is the time to invest in schools and make repairs.

"We're going to see this pandemic used as an excuse to cut more and take more away from public schools and we can't let that happen," said Kathleen Melville.

Melville says she teaches 10th grade at the Workshop School and wants to make sure students of all backgrounds can access lessons online in the coming weeks.

"They should have full access, free access to the internet," Melville said.

District officials have said that students will be provided Chromebook if they don't have a laptop and that the district is also working with businesses and to help with internet access.

Right now protesters say there's still a lot that needs to be done before students return.

"When we go back, we want a full recovery. We want all of the resources that our students need," Melville said.