Cobb County teachers protest outside board meeting after COVID-19 deaths

More than a hundred Cobb County teachers held signs and honked their car horns outside the school board meeting Thursday night.

Teachers are upset and worried about their safety and the safety of their students. Three fellow educators have died in less than a month.

"They're seeing their friends and fellow teachers die and it's to the point where people are willing to stand up for themselves," said Connie Jackson, President of the Cobb Association of Educators.

Kemp Elementary teacher Dana Johnson and Sedalia Park Elementary para-professional Cynthia Lyndsey both passed away Thursday. On Christmas Day, Hendricks Elementary School teacher Patrick Key died after a long battle with COVID-19.

"It's been a heartbreaking day, but that's nothing compared to what the loved ones are experiencing today," said board member Dr. Jaha Howard.

During the school board work session, Dr. Howard tried to bring up a discussion about COVID.

"Did you have any other words you'd like to speak on when it comes to staff safety, student safety in regard to COVID?" asked Dr. Howard.

The superintendent said there wasn't much to said and moved on to the agenda items.

Teachers said there's a lot to discuss, but they feel like no one is listening.

"We want answers and transparency and we don't' feel like we're being given that. or like we're included in the decision-making process at all," said Jason Furse who is a teacher.

Some teachers want to go all virtual.  Others want teaches with underlying conditions to teach virtual classes and those who are comfortable in the classroom to teach the face-to-face students.

"Either one is a good choice. Right now we're endangering teacher lives," said Jackson.

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