Clarence parents sue school district for full in-person classes


(AP file photo)

CLARENCE, N.Y. (WIVB)– A group of Clarence parents have filed a lawsuit seeking a return to full-time, in-person schooling, law firm HoganWillig says.

The firm says the parents – organizing as the Coalition of Clarence Parents to Put Students First Inc. – asked HoganWillig to file their petition against Gov. Andrew Cuomo, The New York State Department of Health, Clarence Central School District, the district’s superintendent and others “to argue for the immediate, safe reopening of their school buildings to full-time, in-person instruction for its students.”

The group claims the restrictions in Clarence’s hybrid learning model, which allows students back in buildings on a rotating schedule with numerous safety precautions in place, “are overkill and go above and beyond what the CDC now recommends.” Their petition adds that they feel the hybrid model is “harmful to students, contributing to stress, severe mental health issues, and poses a significant threat to a child’s normal growth and development.”

“We are seeing students that were once honor roll students, now failing and losing complete interest in their studies,” claimed attorney Corey Hogan, who is part of the team representing the parents. “It’s hard to find the motivation to learn when you are isolated from your peers and teachers. Young kids are simply not meant to learn and grow this way.”

Clarence is not the first district to be sued by parents seeking a return to full-time classroom instruction. HoganWillig is also representing parents in Grand Island who lodged a similar suit earlier this month. A group of local parents from multiple districts protested at the Rath Building last week.

Meanwhile, students at Depew Middle School were sent home until after spring break due to several cases of COVID-19 popping up at the school. Superintendent Dr. Jeffrey Rabey believed the cases were attributable to community and household spread, as well as youth sports, rather than in-class transmission.

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