MONUMENT — Some parents in Lewis-Palmer School District 38 are upset over an anonymous advertisement in the local newspaper that appears to criticize teachers while also demanding the district switch completely to in-person learning with no masks.
The advertisement in Our Community News was bought by parents and community members who feel students are falling behind and experiencing isolation and depression during online instruction. It states, "Teacher's unreasonable demands are destroying kid's education and making it impossible for other amazing teachers who are stuck accommodating the extremism of people who should have never been in the building in the first place." It goes on to say that those teachers who cannot risk exposure need to resign or be replaced by teachers who can do the job.
Those behind the advertisement are pushing for the district to immediately take steps to provide in-person learning for students in K-12 with no masks and for them to be able to socialize with their friends.
After the Advertisement was published earlier this week, parents reached out to News 5 with concerns.
"The ad was the last thing this community needs. We already have a reputation for not showing support for our teachers and I think it's disgusting because the teachers are the best," said Brendan Burns, Lewis-Palmer School District 38 parent.
"I think it's very frustrating because our teachers have just been superheroes in all of this. They've stepped up and made it work for our kids and there's a big difference between wanting things to go back to normal for our kids and placing an ad that attacks our teachers who are doing the work to keep our kids safe and giving it their all," said Melissa Hall, Lewis-Palmer School District 38.
Parents tell News 5 that not everyone shares the same sentiments expressed in the advertisement. While there are some that prefer in-person learning because of the struggles online can bring, there are a lot of other parents that don't mind the Hybrid Learning Model and believe teachers are going above and beyond to help their children succeed academically.
"The elementary school has been five days in-person, they've been able to do it safely. Our kids have cohorted, they're still able to go to art, music, and lunch. They're still having a normal educational experience," said Hall.
She says teachers haven't made extreme demands when it comes to safety precautions. Both Hall and Burns disagree with how those behind the ad chose to express their concerns.
"An ad that is anonymous is not the way to have this conversation. We can go and talk to teachers, administrators, and during the school board meeting," said Hall.
"I'm not going to lie, I wish schools were open too. We would love for that too happen, but we want it to happen in a safe and effective manner. We want science to lead the decisions, we don't want a bunch of internet warriors deciding what our kids should do and how they should behave and what science is and what science isn't," said Burns.
Hall's daughter, Zoe O'Donnell, who is a tenth grader at Lewis-Palmer High School disagreeing with the ad's perspective on teachers.
"My teachers have been working way overtime to make sure me and my fellow students have gotten everything we need. Academically, socially and mentally. They knew how hard going through a pandemic was and they were making mental health resources available and easily accessible," said O'Donnell.
While the Advertisement says students are falling behind without in-person learning, she says that's not the case for everyone.
"I've had a lot of academic benefits from going hybrid and being online. My teachers have made notes available, they've made themselves available before and after school, and during study hall. Just to make sure that we have the academic support that we need," said O'Donnell.
The recent negativity toward the district prompting her to write her own letter in Our Community News. Her letter highlighting the benefits of hybrid and how hard teachers have been working.
"In my letter, I talked about just the amazing support that the staff has given me. My counselor made herself available all of the time to go over schedules and going over anything I was struggling with. They were constantly reaching out for support, not only academically but they were really making sure we were OK mentally," said O'Donnell.
After her letter was published, she says she was shocked by the positivity that came from others in the community.
"I didn't really expect it to get much traction or to be noticed by a lot of people. But I saw as the article written with all of the negative views about the school district, a lot of people were commenting this was terrible to see but in the same issue we saw this letter from a student and it meant way more than that letter did," said O'Donnell.
Parents say they plan on buying their own advertisement in the newspaper showing support for the teachers. Anyone is willing to contribute and can add their signature.