Protest march in Elk Grove demands five-day-a week school in-class instruction, speakers criticize local elected officials

Protest marchers gather in the front of  Harriett Eddy Middle School in Elk Grove demanding the EGUSD resume five-day-a-week in-class instruction. | 

Even though in-class instruction is being resumed statewide on a phased-in basis, a group of parents with children in Elk Grove Unified School District school's held a protest march in Elk Grove today demanding a return to five-day-a-week in-class instruction. 

Organized by the citizen group calling itself the EGUSD Parent Coalition, their event drew several dozen participants. The group met at Harriet Eddy Middle School to start their march. 

After leaving Harriet Eddy, the protester went south on Bruceville Road to Elk Grove Boulevard and went west to Laguna Spring and north to Kloss Park and nearby Foulks Ranch Elementary School. Along their protest route, with megaphones, the demonstrators shouted various chants demanding five-day school.

At Kloss Park, the marchers heard from three speakers, including Eric Rigard, who unsuccessfully challenged Jim Cooper last year for the 9th California Assembly seat, EGUSD Parent Coalition president Erin Somers, Dr. Firdos Sheikh, Mia Foster, and her son Lincoln. Although all three had slightly different approaches, each criticized the EGUSD Board of Trustees for not quickly reopening in-class instruction and local politicians in general.

Shiekh, who has been a frequent critic of the trustees of the EGUSD, again criticized them, saying they had no regard for students or parental concerns. 

"My question to the trustees - it's great you think Zoom learning is good; that was crisis intervention," Shiekh said. "What about after the crisis is understood? I want to ask the school board what have you done, have you communicated with the parents."

More pointed in her criticism of elected officials was Foster, who earlier this summer helped organized protests at the EGUSD administrative offices against then trustee Bobbie Singh-Allen, who was since elected as mayor of Elk Grove. Foster, who is of Hmong ancestry, along with other members from the Sacramento area Hmong community, accused Singh-Allen of making statements against their culture.

Foster also characterizing local officials as uncaring about constituent concerns and the welling being of at-risk children. Along with criticizing Singh-Allen, EGUSD Trustee Nancy Chaires-Espinoza was criticized by the speakers.  

See Foster's entire commentary in the video posted below. 

"They have forgotten the people they were elected to serve," she said. "These politicians just don't care."

As noted during the rally, Elk Grove Unified closed schools one year ago today to in-class instruction after students tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. EGUSD was the first district in California to stop in-class instruction. 

Although Elk Grove Unified in-class instruction is being phased-in, administrators here and throughout the country are facing political pressure from a multitude of sources to hasten the process. 

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