Petitions spark the fire but what is going to fan the flame?

Chloe Clinton, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Thousands of petitions litter the internet, but are they a waste of space? In 2020, petitions have seen a rise in popularity and use. With many recent events causing an uproar, people want their voices heard. However, is a call to action on really making an impact on these pressing issues? Most would like to think that signing an online petition is enacting great deals of change; however, that’s not the case. Online petitions are being swept away to a digital landfill where they will continue to do nothing to fix the injustices of the world. 

Locally, there are a number of petitions related to Edmond Public Schools (EPS) COVID-19 policies that are prime examples of uselessness. One of the most popular petitions, entitled Edmond Public Schools Return to Learn 5 days a week was created in response to the hybrid learning schedule. The goal of this petition is to have students return to school five days a week and remove remote learning completely. It states that EPS’ hybrid schedule is an injustice to their children’s education because they do not see their teacher for days on end. Parents from all over the district have signed this petition, going as far as commenting on the petition and emailing EPS board members in hopes of enacting change. 

“We recognized a blended model of instruction would be a hardship for some families and staff members. It was not a decision that district administrators and school board members arrived at easily,” said Director of Community Relations Susan Parks-Schlepp. “We concluded that we could not safely reopen schools without significantly reducing the student population in each building,” 

Another popular petition among parents is Edmond Schools stay on A/B schedule. This petition is advocating for the opposite action as the Return to Learn petition. However, the outcome has not had the desired effect that parents have been striving to achieve. In fact, the EPS Board of Education members are seeing a positive spin on the issue. 

“In the last few weeks, a large number of those daily emails have become very complimentary of the AB system and say it is working out well for them and asking us to please NOT open the schools 5 days a week because of the increased risk of contracting the virus,” said Kathleen Duncan, President of the Board of Education.

While these petitions sparked conversations, they will not push EPS to change their current policies and procedures. Wasting time creating and commenting on these petitions will not fan the flame for change when the change has to come from the top. Instead, parents and students with concerns should email or call the superintendent in charge of the area of complaint.