Kenai Peninsula parents call for families to strike until schools open up for students

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In an act of civil disobedience, some Kenai parents are removing their students from the Kenai Peninsula Schools until the school district opens for in-person learning.

A petition at Change.org has 138 signatures so far, after the Dec. 7 Kenai School Board meeting in which parents gave overwhelming testimony in favor of a return to normalcy in schools.

The schools remain locked and the president of the Kenai Peninsula Educators Association, David Brighton, has refused to have his union members go back to school until it is deemed 100 percent safe from COVID-19.

David Brighton, Kenai Peninsula Educators Association, right, with Mark Begich, in Brighton’s LinkedIn profile photo.

“The delay to return to in person education is harming children and families, some beyond repair. The School District’s long term closure is the result of weak, fearful actions and lack of leadership of the Superintendent and the School Board,” the petitions states.

The school board has left the opening of the schools to the superintendent’s discretion, but John O’Brien has declined to act and has given parents no comfort that their children will be served anytime soon.

A Kenai group called “We’re done with distance” started on Facebook and now has over 350 members in just two days. The group is planning on picketing, protesting, and removing their students from the district if the schools are not back in session by Jan. 4.

“Continued isolation is the worst thing that can placed upon children. The unfounded fear, not facts, being used in the decision making, is punishing our students. Forced isolation without proper instruction has caused more harm to our children than a virus with a 98% recovery rate ever will cause,” the group wrote. “Parents on the Kenai Peninsula want schools open for all grades, now. The job of KPBSD is to facilitate educating children, not push an agenda forcing our community into a false sense of safety.”

During the 2019 contract negotiations, the community overwhelmingly supported KPBSD teachers and support staff, according to the petition.” The message used was ‘it’s about the kids.'”

“Now, our children are in a dire crisis.  They are not represented by an organized union, they are isolated, and they are suffering while falling further away from a proper education.”

One of the petition sponsors is James Baisden, chief of staff to Kenai Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce. Baisden is also the parent of school-age children in the Kenai School District.

Kenai district schools let out for the Christmas holidays starting on Friday, so the matter of the strike may not have as much effect as intended. State funding for the district is based on October enrollments, and would likely not be impacted by the strike.

46 COMMENTS

  1. Love this illogical stand: “…president of the Kenai Peninsula Teachers Association, David Brighton, has refused to have HIS union members go back to school until it is deemed 100 percent safe from COVID-19.”
    Now we know where the union stands – “Pay the teachers to never go back in a classroom.”
    Keep paying your dues, teachers! Not everyone gets as lucky as you to have elected your own “Doctor Dave” to make decisions for your health!”
    100% safe from…? Ha! Welcome to earth, folks. The only thing 100% in this world now appears to be the Union’s position on NOT supporting teachers in their effort to most effectively reach and teach kids!
    Soon, more and more will realize that our elected “doctors” don’t really care about our health. We may not know what is on the top of their list, but we’ll finally admit that health is WAY down that list despite what they tell us each week.

  2. Wow, BW! The cluelessness, illogic and plain old mean-spirited spite in your comment here are simply off the chart. And I am not even a parent!
    .
    Great way to NOT address the relevant matters under discussion.

  3. Well said BW. It is not just the children that do have a high recovery rate but the teachers, family members and the public that you place a high risk of contacting the disease ? and possibly dying or suffering lifetime disabilities. You only want to listen to what you believe and not what medical professionals and the CDC are saying. Your are the ones that won’t wear masks, keep social distance or do anything to protect others. You won’t take the vaccinations ? and blame everyone else if your child or family member dies or suffers. Those in the hospitals and those of have died already don’t believe that this virus ? is fake or don’t thing everyone should just do as they please without trying to stop the spread of suffering and death. If you thing your child is harmed by not being in school how will you explain to them they spread the disease ? to your families or teachers and they died or suffered because you ignored the educated experts and stood upon your misguided believe you have a right to endanger others. Research and understand deadly viruses ? and how they spread and what mankind has done in the past to stop them. You will learn something and maybe change your mind about what we all did to do to stop ? this virus ? or seriously reduce it’s toll on society. Former Polio victim as a child of 5 who spent six months in a children’s hospital, wore a leg brace for years and fought to recover and succeed his whole life. One of the first to test Dr. Jonas Sulk’s polio vaccine ? after the disease ? to ensure it wouldn’t return. Polio is pretty much eradicated in the world thanks to the people that took the vaccine. Google “Iron Lung” to see how fortunate I was to survive with just the disabilities that I had. I will gladly exercise my right and freedom to take the COVID-19 vaccine when offered as both my wife and I are high risk targets and only are own actions and GODS plan will determine our future and survival. God Bless you all and may you survive also.

  4. I encourage you to listen to the recording where you can hear me saying we can go back we just need to be safe.

    Our teachers want to be working with students in person, please be honest and accurate in your reporting. What you wrote is NOT at all what I said or what the union message is.

    • Thank you David for speaking out and being truthful. Politics has caused divisiveness and unwillingness to bridge gaps for the betterment of the general public.

    • Naaaa… Get back to work. Your employers (taxpayers) expect that you and your “union” work for a paycheck. You are making excuses to not work. Since you are not producing a product (education), why are we paying you?

      That selfy with Mark Begich..? A picture is worth a thousand words. The ones that pop into my head are Bolshevik, Marxism, communism, democide, starvation, misery, hatred, insurgent, cancel culture, “change”, cultural revolution, indoctrination, “re-education”, gulags, long lines, empty store shelves, “social justice”, insidious.

  5. You’re totally missing the point BW – we’re paying taxes to support public schools. Some folks actually want the product public schools offer. Others are not capable of homeschooling and cannot afford private education. Parents should have that choice. The option we are paying for needs to be available. If the teachers don’t want to work, FIRE THEM. Bust the union. 100% safe is not achievable, and the precedent accepting their demands sets is a travesty and will lead to more and more unreasonable demands.
    As for your opinion about how folks raise kids… I suspect you were one once upon a time. Did you actually learn anything at all? – especially about civil discourse? Were you that bratty kid? What are you asking folks to do with their Bibles? Beat their kids with it? Eph.6:1-4. I suggest you read yours and look for the log in your own eye. Perhaps I’m being to hard on you, but I think not.

  6. Kenai and Alaska you are a little late striking to disenroll the children! But, Americans only are reflecting how late the churches were opening its doors for in-person gathering. If ones home church is still playing the great whore of revelation 17, their home church may never open agian because of scattering the remainding loyal sheep to a dying church!
    If the church stood up in March like a man of God instead of sitting down and scattering its people across the internet, Alaskans even the atheists, wouldnt had gone threw so much unnecessary pain that we been putting up with.
    If one’s home church is still living in fear, one better get their church doors open agian, before God closes them down Permanently!

  7. Teachers do not go to work and return to the classroom. Do not pay them they still refuse to go to work fire them replace them.
    The Teachers Union does control our school we the parents do.

    • How are you going to replace the teachers? There isn’t enough to go around as there is. It’s not like the old days. You can’t hardly beg teachers from the lower 48 to come up here anymore.

  8. It sure takes a special kind of person to admit they are harming their children more than the indoctrination center does…“Now, our children are in a dire crisis. They are not represented by an organized union, they are isolated, and they are suffering while falling further away from a proper education.” So you fully admit you are a horrible parent and you are incapable of caring for your own children?
    .
    Once upon a time those who called themselves conservative actually knew what the word means, now we have “conservatives” begging to send their children to not be taught what the word means. These people are threatening to pull their children out of a school they do not attend after the deadline for doing so would have actually meant something and just in time for the Christmas vacation? Not a very well thought out plan, at all.

  9. BW go ahead and pick up your Bible. Let’s turn to James 1:19. Did you read it? Ok now listen…parents aren’t whining because we don’t want to raise our children. Not all parents are equipped to be teachers. Also, many parents have to work to support said children. We have single moms and dads who need their kids in school so they can go to work. They can’t afford child care. Often little kids 6-10 years old are home alone for hours learning nothing and watching who knows what on tv all day. God raises up teachers to teach. He gifts certain people with amazing abilities to teach. They can’t do this behind a computer screen. We have an entire generation failing. This is going to have social ramifications for decades.

    • Public schools are anything but free. They are actually pretty expensive and the cost is largely shared by all property owners regardless of how many kids they have if any at all. This is the whole point. They are paying for something they are not getting.

  10. Kinda pointless at the moment. Timing is everything.

    Try not going back after Christmas.

    The best approach is nonstop pressure on the alleged school board via packing the meetings, social media, and recall efforts.

    Then show up in mass at the ballot box. Vote each and every one out.

    Are the people of Kenai willing to do the hard, long, boring work to fix this? Time will tell.

    • I would agree with packing the meeting but when the meetings are virtual what is the impact. The Board can be real bold and ignore parents when they really don’t have to face them

  11. Ostriches, obviously…….you don’t have to work……. to support your children, who are struggling to learn from the internet. God knows we love our children but they do need to continue eating as well as learning.

    In addition you do know they are being paid full salaries, working less than half the time and the risk ….. in class to them is negligible. So why pay so much in taxes. Parents are lossing half.their salaries so why shouldnt the teachers. They need the interaction and ability to ask questions. Everyone needs to be much more understanding and helpful than judgmental of parents.

  12. This should have been done in Oct during count day. Schools get funding based on this period alone! Hurt them
    Where it counts!

  13. Sorry BW, the Bible has nothing to do with it. Read the greater Barrington declaration to find the inside information that the teachers union is trying to conceal. Fact; children are harmed more by the lack of socialization than any risk to COVID. Plus, here in Anchorage the at home learning programs are so difficult to access, understand and utilize that the failure rat from them is significant, probably the same down there. Would you quit your job to stay at home all day with the kids who are uninterested in the internet teaching methods?

  14. I work in the KPBSD. I am an educator, I love the kids but to be honest I’m embarrassed. I’m embarrassed because everyone assumes that all educators do not want to go back. That not true at all. There are educators that have confronted David Brighton.So now the general public believes all educators are lazy and need to be fired. I’m embarrassed because people assume that I don’t care for their kids. They assume that we are barely working. They also forget that a large number of these teachers are doing zoom calls, doing video recordings, posting online and still trying to sit with their own kids on their own individual classrooms doing zoom and helping with their school work. There are teachers that want to go back and they are told no- they have no choice but to distance teach. The problem is that being represented by a union does not mean every educator supports the stand the union makes. I have witnessed teachers in tears because of horrible things parents have said to them. These educators are learning the technology side of distance learning with no training. Several teachers report that they are often stood up on the zoom calls. I know educators that have offered to spend zoom time doing one on one during their personal family time- all to see the student grow- only to be stood up. Please please do not lump all educators as wanting to stay remote. Several have tried to take a stand and have been shot down. I am glad the parents are taking a stand- please know some educators support your stand. Please keep an open mind that not all educators are horrible. Please be kind and patient- take a stand, but please know that the educators are tired, stressed and frustrated too. Unfortunately we are being told what to do and are expected to comply.

    • ” I have witnessed teachers in tears because of horrible things parents have said to them.”

      I guess my nephew, schooling from his dad’s den, getting screamed at by his “teacher” to take down the “Trump 2020” flag in the background is perfectly OK. His dad asked the “teacher” if the flag had been a BLM or antifa flag, would it be OK? He received silence and she kicked them out of the zoom call. No problem, he picked up the phone, called the school district and asked if they cared to speak with his team of lawyers and to let the teacher know that she would need to lawyer up because he was going to sue her personally if these shenanigans are to continue.

    • Quit the teachers union then. Why support something that doesn’t do anything for you. As you know during negotiations, all you’re going to get is what the superintendent agrees to give you anyway it’s not like you have any real bargaining power. You’re not going to strike you need your job.

  15. BW, you Sir or Ma’am, sound more like someone who hasn’t a clue about how children should be raised. We home school ours and love every second of their interaction with us. However, not all families have that option, nor is it the right choice for every child. This is about teachers doing the job they were hired to do, and if they can’t or won’t, then they need to be dismissed.

    I agree, “Learn some responsibility and raise your children RIGHT! You have a Bible. Use it.” Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6

    • BW does nothing but troll the comment section trying to upset normal people. These leftist will never be happy. If you want to see who you’re talking to go look at the mugshots of Antifa freaks by Andy Ngo on Twitter. These people are so pathetic they can’t fit into society.

      The closest they can get to relief is to spread lies and anger in the attempt to create chaos among normal people. You can see a whole slew of these trolls hanging out at ADN. They are eaten alive by their own shortcomings and dissatisfaction with life. They are best ignored in print, and beat down in person.

  16. Ha,ha! And the annual Christmas migration of Alaska school teachers begins, to visit family & friends scattered far & wide across the USA, where Covid cases appear to be soaring. The National Education Association says it’s too dangerous for their members to teach in person because of Covid ( even though the data indicates that the transmission of the virus from child to adult is statistically negligible ) yet these same teachers are willing to run the gauntlet of crammed planes, overcrowded spaces & infected families. Tell me again how everything you do “is for the children”! you hypocrites!

  17. Mat-Su has been operating all year with great success. Maybe someone should follow their examples and see how they have done it.
    I am impressed at how they have handled it so far.

  18. It’s not disobedience because the parents are lawfully allowed to unenroll their kids from the district any time they want to….

  19. Wow! Judging from the comment section, there’s a lot of cabin fever going on out there. I bet Phillip will be first in line for the covid vaccine, despite the fact that it has been nicknamed the “depopulation vaccine” by numerous doctors and virologists. (Mercola.com, for one.) If you suffer any ill effects, you’ll have no financial recourse, as with other vaccines. The drug companies have been granted immunity from lawsuits.

    BW…might I suggest a little examination of thine own self?

    Is removing your child from indoctrination centers, I MEAN, public schools such a bad thing? Every child that leaves will pull thousands of dollars from the public system. Would that be such a bad thing? It will sure get the attention of the educator’s association, maybe spur them into action.

  20. LOL, Brighton wants teachers to be 100% safe from COVID-19? Living humans aren’t 100% safe from anything! Let’s see… car crashes, flu, slips/trips/falls, cuts, moose interactions, etc. walking out your front door is serious business.

    That photo with Begich is priceless. The NEA is nothing but a cheerleader for anything and everything Democrat.

    Kudos to those Kenai Peninsula parents. When they return their children to their schools they should also demand that their children receive a non-Marxist education.

    • Correlation does not equal causation. Video:
      The Covid-19 Data is a ‘Travesty’ – How the UK and US Covid Death Data is Inflated

      “Although people have tragically died from Covid-19, the way the Covid-19 death data is recorded in many countries around the world has produced, and continues to produce, an inflated death toll. This inflated death toll has then been, and continues to be, used by fascist-style bureaucracies, in conjunction with scientific priesthoods, to terrify the general public into obedience.”

  21. A few thoughts from a KPBSD teacher:
    1) KPBSD teachers are not thrilled with doing remote teaching. We all prefer in person by far. We are not working less while doing remote. We are working more and with more stress. If there is a plus to remote, it is being able to work with students individually. Some of my struggling students are able to get more one-on-one time, and that has been a good thing. Bottom line, though, is that teachers are not benefitting from remote teaching. It is the opposite and we will be glad to get back to the normal stress of teaching. My work load will actually become lighter than it is now.
    2) KPBSD teachers recognize the stress that remote teaching is putting on families. We are most definitely aware of how it is affecting people financially and emotionally. We do not wish this kind of burden to fall on anyone. Some of us have young children and are trying to do the same balancing act with work as everyone else.
    3) Please recognize that some of us, along with some of our family members, have risk factors that make Covid potentially extremely dangerous to us. Some of you will say that I should not fear the virus. It’s only a 1% chance of dying. I would not feel comfortable playing Russian Roulette with a 100 round chamber and I think it’s quite reasonable to feel that way. I’m a fan of breathing and I don’t look forward to seeing how I might do on a ventilator. When I return to the classroom, this concern will always be in the back of my mind. Before you try to blow this concern off as wimpy, remember that I, along with those other teachers with risk factors, are also the ones who go to school willing to take a bullet for your child. (Yeah, don’t forget all those active shooters that we have to plan for.) However, I plan to take the vaccine as soon as it’s available to me to help lower the risk to myself and to the others I could spread it to. It is also why I wear a mask and try to socially distance. Just trying to do my part to help make things a little safer.
    4) Just a heads up from someone who works in one of those “indoctrination centers”. The teachers in the buildings where I have taught run the gamut on the political spectrum, just like in the real world. Unless you’re talking about teaching them to be kind and respect others. Yeah, guilty as charged on that one!
    5) Bottom line is that we want to return to schools in a safe manner, and there isn’t anything wrong in wanting to do it safely. Unfortunately Covid has placed us in situations where it’s often lose-lose. There are good points to staying remote and there are good points to returning to class. My sympathies to our school board and administration who must make these decisions, knowing there are problems no matter what they do.

    • Good for you. Urge your union to require teachers to take the Covid vaccine & then open the schools! Also, how about requiring teachers who have travelled out of state for the Holidays& are required to quarantine when they return to Alaska, do so on their own dime!

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