Parents file lawsuit against CMS demanding students return to classroom

Parents file lawsuit against CMS demanding students return to classroom

MECKLENBURG COUNTY, N.C. — Some parents are suing the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School district demanding courts step in to get students back in the classroom. The group of parents believes that the all-virtual learning plan that students are currently on violates the state constitution.

The lawsuit, which is the first local one we’ve seen, makes some serious claims, including that CMS didn’t sufficiently look at the option of bringing kids to school for in-person instruction and that CMS is refusing to properly evaluate their virtual instruction capabilities.

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In the 22-page lawsuit, the parents also claim that CMS failed students, parents and teachers in a number of ways. They include a failure to sufficiently prepare for this school year, a failure to consider expert medical advice on COVID-19 related to children and a failure to consider the risks of virtual learning.

The lawsuit also claims that as CMS was making plans for a mix of virtual and in-person learning, the North Carolina Association of Educators influenced the school board and Superintendent Earnest Winston.

“NCAE organized a campaign to improperly influence and intimidate board members and Mr. Winston into issuing the Suspension of Active Instruction,” the lawsuit reads.

The suit also highlights a digital divide created by virtual learning, saying it “harms students and, in particular, socioeconomically disadvantaged and minority students.”

The lawsuit brings up medical advice against virtual learning, claiming it “poses child safety concerns” and the idea that "child abuse goes unreported by teachers who aren’t seeing students in person.”

The parents said they filed the lawsuit because they want as much in-person learning as possible under Gov. Roy Cooper’s orders.

Channel 9 contacted both CMS and the NCAE about the lawsuit.

CMS responded, but at this time would only say that the district hasn’t been formally served the lawsuit.

An NCAE spokesperson sent Channel 9 the following statement:

“We are still reviewing the allegations in the complaint, but we believe the claims are meritless and we are confident that we have not violated any state or federal law. We intend to vigorously defend the Association and our members from these frivolous and politically-motivated claims.”

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