My name is Max Bennett, I am a senior at Scarborough High School and the Class of 2021 representative on the Scarborough School Board.

The student representative to the Scarborough School Board shares his thoughts on proposals to return to the classroom full time. Makeda Art/Shutterstock.com

After having sat through countless hours of meetings about how we can’t safely seat 2,500 students in our schools, I was appalled to see Thursday’s article regarding protests led by Scarborough parents against protecting our students (“Families rally in Scarborough to urge pivot back to full in-person learning,” April 29, Page B1).

I thought that any grown adult could recognize the effectiveness of the state’s rules, the rules that are keeping our children safe, because anyone who claims otherwise is simply a COVID denier. As has been repeatedly stated in our public meetings to the parents in that article, our schools cannot accommodate all of the students in a way that protects them and the staff from COVID-19.

It has been cited that a few schools in Maine have opened full time, but they are blessed with the facilities to space their children apart while in the classroom. It has also been requested on numerous occasions that the school department needs to “get creative,” but in the 14 months we’ve been in this pandemic, no idea “creative” enough has surfaced.

In my ideal world, I would be having a normal senior year, and adults would have more empathy for the staff in Scarborough. But if there’s anything that being the student representative has taught me, it’s that safety comes first and teachers will never have their voices prioritized.

Scarborough must stay in the hybrid model for the duration of the year to keep our schools safe, or we could face devastating consequences.

Maxwell Bennett
Scarborough

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