TPS Parents Launch New Petition Urging District To Maintain Distance Learning

Friday, September 18th 2020, 10:31 pm
By: Kristen Weaver

TULSA, Okla. -

Some Tulsa Public Schools parents are launching a new petition to urge the district to keep distance learning.

Earlier this week, other parents launched a petition calling for a return to in-person learning. 

Related Story: Some TPS Parents Sign Petition Pushing For Return To In-Person Classes

James Deming said he created the new petition because he thinks opening may put teachers, parents and students at serious risk.

"COVID is a very risky thing," Deming said.

Deming said he has two kids in elementary school at Tulsa Public Schools, and his wife is a teacher for the district. He said distance learning has been a struggle.

"She's having to handle the education of our two children and her 20 students,” Denning said.

Deming also said distance learning is something parents can handle. He said going back to school may have a deadly impact.

That's why he started this petition in support of keeping distance learning at the school until there's a better understanding of COVID-19.

It's in direct opposition to an existing petition to reopen TPS school which has about 2,000 signatures already.

"We know some things about COVID, but we don't know the long-term risks about COVID and they could be substantial," Deming said.

Superintendent Deborah Gist said in a Facebook live today she's aware of both petitions and said she'll make her recommendation based on science.

"The truth of the matter is neither choice is crystal clear," Gist said.

Dr. Jerry Griffin is a TPS a board member and said parents deserve a choice to send their kids back to school in person or to keep them in distance learning. 

Griffin wants to discuss the matter at the next board meeting.

"If we're not going to go back, let's tell everybody, now it's going to be all semester, so parents can plan ahead," he pointed out.

Superintendent Gist said petitions and persuasion won't influence her decision-making, but said that the feedback she and the board is receiving still helps them understand what parents are thinking.