"Keep the schools shut": Teachers rage against the machine

The “machine” in question here is a public school system with 160,000 students. The rally Tuesday night was the protest, organized by two unions: Montgomery County’s chapter of the National Education Association, and the Service Employees International Union. The aim: Overturning the county’s reopening plan, which would slowly return students to school starting in March and give all students a chance to return by the last week of April.

The demands at times were simple: Get teachers vaccinated, require masks at school (Governor Larry Hogan did that in a Tuesday executive order), and improve ventilation. Vaccines have been a source of continual frustration. Many protestors objected that teachers find it very hard to find vaccines. In fact, a PTA-like group called MoCo Vax Hunters formed to find vaccine appointments for teachers. According to MCPS, 5,427 public-school teachers in the county have been vaccinated as of Tuesday.

These things—vaccines and better ventilation—would make things safer for sure. But many teachers went overboard in stating the dangers of teaching.

“No Tributes. No Hunger Games. We are NOT expendable,” read one teacher’s sign.