Mimi Mihal expected the school board to vote on the plan Monday, but the board postponed any vote, prompting her to join a growing protest
KIRKWOOD, Mo. — Standing along the side of the road Tuesday afternoon, the smallest protestor, Beaux Swoboda, has a sign with a message in big letters: “Play, Not Stay.”
This third grader wants to go back to class, for himself and for his friends at Tillman Elementary.
“I need to socialize, and I think other kids do too,” the 8-year-old said.
Swoboda is here with his mom, Mimi Mihal, who watched the Monday board meeting online, hoping they’d approve Superintendent David Ulridge’s plan to get Beaux — and other students in Kindergarten through 5th grade — back in school Monday through Thursday every week.
Mihal expected the school board to vote on the plan Monday, but the board postponed any vote, prompting Mihal to join the dozens of other parents protesting at the administration building Tuesday.
“We trust our superintendent a lot. We think he is making the right choice, and I felt like last night the board meeting was a train wreck,” Mihal said.
Mihal says she’s watched her five kids learn remotely all semester, but the cons outweigh the pros for her.
“We have had trouble with sleeping, trouble with depression, sadness, loneliness, and it’s just as hard as putting them at risk for a disease,” Mihal said.
Parents at the protest hold signs in support of the superintendent’s plan and say they were surprised to see it didn’t move forward.
“It was obvious that the board was not prepared,” parent Frank Axelrod said.
Axelrod says he’s ready to return to in-person learning and so is his son, a high school junior.
“In the spring he thought it was the greatest thing being home but, now, he wants to be in the classroom, he is ready to go,” Axelrod said.
“The Kirkwood School District Board of Education is supportive of providing parents with choice when it comes to in-person learning. However, the Board needed more time to review the plan presented at the work session on Monday night,” Ginger Cayce, Chief Communications Officer for the KSD Board of Education and Superintendent of Schools, wrote 5 On Your Side in an email. “The health and safety of our students and staff members is a responsibility we all take very seriously during these unprecedented times.”
The board will now take up a vote on the plan 6:30 p.m. on Thursday.