'We want to be heard’: Local high schoolers push to get back into classroom

'We want to be heard’: Local high schoolers push to get back into classroom

CORNELIUS, N.C. — Area high school students told Channel 9 they want to get back in the classroom for in-person instruction because they said they are struggling with virtual learning.

“We just want to be heard. We just want to be accounted for,” said Cody Schmidt, a Hough High senior.

Schmidt and his classmate Jason Gibbs said this year has been a struggle.

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“I liked seeing my friends every morning and being able to interact with teachers,” Gibbs told Channel 9. “Staring at a computer screen all day, it’s just not great. And it’s not really the best way to learn. For me, I’m not feeling motivated at all.”

“Especially for me at the beginning of the year, when we had to do that, I was very depressed and sad the whole time,” Schmidt said.

They said they’re not alone and hope Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools leaders hear their plea.

“I think in-person school is the most important thing we can have right now,” Gibbs said.

While K-5 students return in groups next week, groups of high schoolers come back for testing in December, then go back to classrooms in January.

Schmidt and Gibbs said they want to return sooner, but also said there should be an option to stay online for those concerned about going back.

Channel 9 reporter Elsa Gillis asked the student leaders about others, including many teachers who want to go back, but who said it isn’t safe and that in-person learning puts their lives are at risk.

“Safety is the most important thing,” Gibbs said. “If we can’t go back safely, then it’s not worth going back at all, but I think it is possible. I think if we can do it safely, which I believe we can, I believe the sooner that we can start that, the better it’ll be for everyone.”

The students said they are planning a virtual walkout Friday by logging out of class and not signing in.

They’re encouraging other students to take part to draw attention to their push to reopen schools in-person for more students now.

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