Parents in Nashua, New Hampshire, have been expressing frustration that their kids are only in school for two half-days a week, and now they’re outraged over comments allegedly made by a board of education member and a teacher.
“We think it’s time, we have been patient enough,” said Lisa Bollinger, who has two kids, one of whom is in the Nashua School District.
Nashua students are in the classroom for a total of eight hours a week.
Bollinger and her friend, Wayne Georgiana, say their kids are suffering.
“It’s heart-wrenching,” said Georgiana, a dad of two. “To the point it makes you become angry.”
Nashua Board of Education President Heather Raymond says as the second largest district in the state, there are unique challenges to reopening full-time, especially when almost half the students opted for remote learning through the end of the school year.
“So, we are managing between half the students who want remote and need teachers to teach remote, and half who elected for hybrid or in-person and need teachers and staff in the buildings,” Raymond explained.
But parents point to the Manchester School District, comparable in size, with plans in place to go back to school four full days a week by the beginning of May.
“The board just doesn’t have a plan, they never had a plan,” Georgiana said.
“There always seems to be an excuse,” Bollinger added.
Gov. Chris Sununu is backing these Nashua parents, saying he shares their frustration.
“We anticipate all schools will be in-person full time in a matter of weeks, and we look forward to working with school districts to ensure our kids are back in the classroom full time,” Sununu wrote in a statement to NBC10 Boston.
And while this debate isn’t new, parents say it’s now crossed a line.
A group called Nashua Parent Voice sent NBC10 Boston screenshots of an alleged education board member writing on Facebook that a parent’s opinion was worth a “warm bucket of spit.”
The group also forwarded another screenshot of an alleged teacher calling them a “terrorist group.”
“That’s atrocious,” Georgiana said.
“It’s really offensive,” added Bollinger. “These are elected officials that we have asked to represent our community.”
When NBC10 Boston asked Raymond if the board member and the teacher should be held to a higher standard, she said they should.
“I do think people ought to behave better,” Raymond said. “But I can’t control Facebook and I can’t impede on people’s First Amendment rights, even if they say something I don’t approve of.”
The parents who spoke with NBC10 Boston are calling for that member to be removed from the board of education and for that teacher to face disciplinary action.
Raymond says that likely won’t happen.