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'Our Children Are Suffering': Montgomery County PAC Alleges Teachers' Unions 'Strong-Arming' To Keep Schools Closed

MONTGOMERYVILLE, Pa. (CBS) -- Happening Saturday, a rally is planned in Montgomery County to combat what a newly-formed political action committee calls "strong-arming" by the teachers' union to keep schools closed. It comes on the same day the Philadelphia School District superintendent denounced their union for urging teachers not to return to classes on Monday.

"Somehow right at this current moment, schools are the most political thing," Clarice Shilinger, Keeping Kids in School founder, said.

As the nation continues to battle the COVID-19 health crisis, the battle over whether or not to get kids back into the classroom continues to grow tenser.

"The technology and stuff, it hurts my brain," fourth-grader Kaylee Martin said.

Kaylee goes to class two days a week. For the other three, she spends eight hours per day learning virtually.

"When I am just by myself at home doing virtual, I feel lonely," Kaylee said.

It's why Shilinger, a Montgomery County mom, founded the Keeping Kids in School PAC last month hoping to advocate for students like Kaylee. Shilinger says she supports choice -- for both students and teachers and has organized a peaceful rally for Saturday.

"I do understand that there is a risk, but I also know that we have been given specific guidelines from the CDC that say that we can do this," Shilinger said.

On Friday, the CDC announced guidance on reopening schools will be released in the coming week. Last month, Pennsylvania State Education Association's president, Rich Askey, said he's "very concerned to allow students to return to in-person learning unless existing state guidelines are being properly followed."

"It's been a year, please stop strong-arming schools to close," Shilinger said. "It's not OK. Our children are suffering."

Eyewitness News reached out to the PSEA for comment but has yet to hear back.

Saturday's rally is open to the public and is set to begin at 11 a.m. at the PSEA headquarters in Montgomeryville.

CBS3's Alicia Roberts reports.


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