LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Education advocacy groups in Jefferson County are meeting behind the scenes with teachers to gather input while crafting a growing list of safety demands for Jefferson County Schools. 

On Monday, Dear JCPS, Save Our Schools, and other advocates participated in a virtual meeting of the KY Alliance Education Committee. The goal is to present a list of demands against racism while also promoting safe COVID-19 measures to the Board of Education in an upcoming meeting. 

Gay Adelmann of Dear JCPS, helped lead the latest meeting Monday. She presented some broad demands featured in the People's Agenda. Adelmann says this is simply a starting point, and the grassroots Committee will build on these to further localize what they mean for JCPS. These demands include: 

  • No reopening of schools until scientific data supports it; 
  • Police-free schools;
  • An adequate number of counselors, nurses, and community/parent outreach staff in schools; 
  • "Safe conditions" like smaller class sizes, ample PPE, testing, cleaning, and equitable access to online learning; 
  • A moratorium on charter/voucher programs; and
  • Infusion of federal money in public school programs.

Teachers have recently returned to work on planning for the new school year. Some expressed support for these demands, while adding more measures such as anti-racism training. Adelmann expressed concern for ongoing proposals within JCPS, like student assignment changes and the plan for a tax hike. She wants to ensure the student assignment changes planned are equitable for students. 

"Back to school when it's safe to me means not just safe from COVID, but safe from anything and everything that puts our students at risk, including racist educators, and racist curriculum, and racist and abusive test practices, for example," said Adelmann. "We have to dismantle and abolish systemic racist policies that have been allowed to persist. This is our moment. This is our chance to do it," she added.