BOSTON (CBS) – Parents and their children lined the streets of West Roxbury Sunday, but they weren’t waiting for Santa.

Dozens of angry Boston Public School parents crashed a tree lighting held by Mayor Marty Walsh, protesting the district’s new start time policy.

“This needs to stop. They need to rethink this entire process,” said parent Margarita Barrios Ponce.

Parents express displeasure with proposed new school start times as Marty Walsh attends an event. (WBZ-TV)

Last week, the school committee announced that some elementary school students will start two hours earlier, at 7:15 a.m.

Superintendent Tommy Chang said at the meeting, “Our goal here was to make the most equitable decisions for the entire school system.”

“It’s very complicated to move a district of 128 schools without affecting something. So, no matter what move is made it’s going to affect someone else,” said Walsh on Sunday.

Barrios Ponce, of Jamaica Plain, isn’t happy, and said the changes will disrupt her family’s routine at night.

“Some of these schedules are absolutely impossible. They require children to getting up at 4 or 5 in the morning,” she said.

Marty Walsh speaks to upset parents at a tree lighting event. (WBZ-TV)

At least one Boston city councilor is joining the chorus of parents who want to hit pause on the plan.

“I worry about families, single income families that may not be able to afford after school programs,” said Councilor Matt O’Malley.

The parents are calling on Walsh and the school committee to gather more public input before the new start times are implemented.

“Bottom line is we have to work with the parents to solve this,” said Walsh.

Despite the backlash, school officials plan to move forward with the earlier school start times.

A series of public meetings are scheduled for next week to inform parents about the changes.


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