By Kristina Rex

BOSTON (CBS) – Outside the Boston Public Schools headquarters and under the rain Thursday afternoon, parents and teachers of Boston Public Schools students rallied to push for more in-person learning for students considered “high need.”

The current plan for Boston Public Schools includes bringing students back to the classroom in a hybrid model, with students attending in person classes two days a week starting October 1. If space becomes available, that could eventually translate to four days a week.

According to the district plan, it prioritizes students considered high need: those with special needs, learning disabilities, homeless students, and English language learners. Students who attend three exclusive special needs schools in the city will go to school four days a week starting October 12.

Some parents and teachers say that two days a week of in person learning is not enough. “Special needs and high needs students in particular really need in person services. That is the best possible way for them to learn,” said Asia Crockett, an ESL teacher in Boston. “That’s the best model for them to learn so if they don’t have that to the fullest extent possible then that could be harmful.”

Parents like Renee Banks say remote learning has changed their children, and they need the face-to-face interaction with their teachers. Her son walks with braces. “He was drained,” she said of his remote learning experience. “He’s a very smart kid. Very laid back. But he’s now angry. He doesn’t want to come outside. He misses his teachers.”

Parents at the rally Thursday are demanding Boston Public Schools allow all high need students whose families want them in school to be there in person four days a week. They’re also proposing the district take advantage of all its safe buildings, as well as use community partners to find more space in the city to teach kids safely in person.

Boston Public Schools responded Thursday night to the rally’s demands with the following statement:

“Equity remains at the center of Boston Public Schools’ planning for a safe and successful start to the school year. Our plan prioritizes meeting the needs of our most vulnerable learners, respects family choice, and is thorough, thoughtful and responsive to the feedback we have received from families and teachers. We are excited for the new school year and will continue to support the social, emotional, and physical wellness of our students, staff and community as we lift up equity, promote health and safety, and ensure educators, staff, and families are prepared to support our students in their learning.”

School is scheduled to begin remotely for Boston students on September 21st, followed by the hybrid model starting October 1.

Kristina Rex

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