‘The absolute NERVE!’ Schools to close for staff ‘mental health’ days, leave parents in the lurch

Public school officials in Richmond, Va., and St. Louis, Mo., are being blasted online for arbitrarily planning to shut their doors next month to provide “mental health days” off for teachers and staff, decisions that will likely leave working parents scrambling to figure out to accommodate the closures.

The decisions were blasted online by a Twitter account known as NYC Angry Mom and noted as well by top podcaster Megyn Kelly, a former Fox News host.

I’m not sure that there are enough words to describe the complete lunacy of @RPS_Schools (Richmond, VA) randomly deciding to close for the first week of Nov to ‘protect employees’ mental health’ after 19 months of disruption to the families they SERVE,” the ‘mom’ account noted at the start of a lengthy thread that included a link to a News12 story regarding the closure.

“I recognize I’m giving our families very short notice of this calendar change and truly apologize for the inconvenience it will cause,” noted Superintendent Jason Kamras in a direct update from the district.

“After very careful consideration, I made this decision because I think it’s essential for our employees’ mental health. And because of their mental health, I worry about significant staff absences on November 1 and 3, which could make it very difficult for us to follow our COVID-19 distancing protocols, putting student and staff health in jeopardy,” he continued.

“Again, I sincerely apologize for the short notice and thank you in advance for your understanding,” he added.

The closures on Nov. 1 and 3 will give students the entire week off.

NYC Angry Mom ripped the decision.

“Hi, @RPS_Schools – YOU ARE A TAXPAYER FUNDED ESSENTIAL SERVICE, & YOU SERVE YOUR COMMUNITY. You don’t get to decide to randomly close with 2 weeks notice,” she wrote. “What should the working families of those children do now? What should the children do? How is this even legal?”

In response to the initial tweet, Kelly added: “The NERVE – the kids always come last.”

Continuing, the NYC Angry Mom account argued that Richmond education department staffers and “especially teachers” are able to take off “infinitely more time” to deal with “‘their mental health'” than most other working Americans, noting that many are off during the summer months when schools are out of session.

“Approximately 12 weeks more than a privileged private sector worker, to be exact,” she wrote. “This should not be tolerated.”

The writer then lambasted Democrats in general.

“I NEVER again want to hear a Dem try to claim that public schools are essential. You blew it. You have destroyed your credibility & are causing a death spiral of public education. Congrats, @rweingarten & @BeckyPringle as well,” the ‘angry mom’ continued, singling out Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, one of the industry’s largest unions, and Becky Pringle, president of the National Education Association, another major teachers’ union and the largest labor organization in the country.

The angry mom from Brooklyn also called out a St. Louis-area public school for closing as well and during a similar timeframe.

“Apparently Richmond isn’t alone! Look at @RitenourSchools in St. Louis, MO closing their doors on 11/1 for a ‘staff self-care day’. Congratulations on showing your community how inessential public education is,” the angry mom noted in a post containing a link to a local news story by KDSK regarding the Ritenour High School closure.

“The ongoing challenges of this school year is resulting in unprecedented stress felt by students, families and every staff group in our organization,” the outlet quoted Superintendent Dr. Chris Kilbride as saying in a letter to families. “The levels of stress I’ve witnessed in our staff have been more concerning than at any other time in my 22 years in Ritenour.”

The angry mom went on to note that another school district in the Charlotte-Mecklenberg, N.C., region, is also closing Nov. 1.

“Do these districts simply not care that families rely on schools to be a source of stability for their children? This would have been awful in a normal year, but after 19 months of disruption, it’s unconscionable,” the angry mom wrote, referencing COVID-19 pandemic-related school closures.

Jon Dougherty

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