As school systems nationwide have struggled to deliver a quality learning experience during the pandemic, the Haskins family like many others, attempted to juggle the academic needs of our children with health and safety concerns top of mind. We found PECAN at this critical moment and officially stepped into the world of parent advocacy. The energy and perspective that flowed from parents like us was a breath of fresh air. All children were the focus not just ours and we loved that.

There are many risks associated with sending young people back to school buildings in the coming weeks. Conversely, I think not respecting the voices of parents is equally risky. There has been a considerable amount of discussion about the reopening plan for RCSD. I have immense respect for educators.

My formative years were filled with inspiring teachers that looked like me, and a proactive school environment had a substantial impact on my life. But for all that was done within the four walls of the classroom, it was my parents that had the final word on my academic journey. My wife and I have chosen to keep our children home for the foreseeable future. Like with all parents this decision was not easy, but the best decision for our family. This was not a lack of faith in the plan presented by the superintendent of the RCSD. In her short time as superintendent, Dr. Myers-Small has presented herself as a transparent leader, aware of the social/emotional needs of young people and the importance of parents to be a part of the academic process. In fact, we were able a make an informed choice because of the transparency of the superintendent.

There seems to be a considerable amount of misinformation and fear-mongering being presented to the larger community that intends to take the choice of sending young people back to school away from parents. Earlier in the school year, that choice was taken from what seemed to be at the behest of the teachers and their union. In my view, the time has come for parents to embrace the power that has been bestowed upon us. It is important that we don’t allow decisions that affect our children to be made without our input.