Parent questions Lamar County School District’s virtual learning

Published: Sep. 2, 2020 at 6:42 PM CDT
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LAMAR COUNTY, Miss. (WDAM) - LeVar Leggett said his children are students of the Lamar County School District. He said he’s worried his daughters’ education is at risk because they are fully virtual.

“It’s so different from actually being a part of the live lesson and being able to ask questions while the teacher is teaching,” Leggett said.

Leggett said since the start of school, he’s learned the Lamar County School District’s virtual learning doesn’t give students full access to a teacher. He said if his children need help, they have to communicate with the teacher through emails or calls.

“I’ve never seen a virtual program that did not have teacher access,” Leggett said.

He said he spoke with district leaders, including Superintendent Steven Hampton, and asked for video access to classroom instruction. Leggett said he was told due to privacy concerns that’s wasn’t available.

“But there are ways we can protect children through our Zoom links and our Zoom setting and things of that nature where everybody can be educated,” Leggett said.

Leggett said he chose virtual learning to keep his daughters safe, but he said now he feels like that choice is being penalized. He said he is asking for full access to a teacher not just for his kids, but all the virtual students.

“They won’t do as well without a live teacher,” Leggett said.

Hampton said he understands Leggett’s and other virtual parents’ concerns and is asking for patience.

“We are continually reevaluating every aspect of our virtual and traditional learning,” Hampton said.

Hampton said video access to classroom instruction is complicated by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

“We have no control over what happens on the other end of that connection, and we have to think of the possibilities of what could come in to the learning environment from outside forces,” Hampton said.

Hampton said as far as full virtual access to teachers, he said it’s not a simple fix when you consider the student to teacher ratio.

“To provide this instruction as best we can, we have to have the personnel to be able to do that and add in the teacher shortage, we’re struggling to try to do that as best we can,” Hampton said.

Leggett added he is not trying to bash the district, he said he just wants to make sure his kids are getting the same level of instruction as traditional students and are not getting left behind.

Hampton wants parents to know the district is working on a lot to figure out this new normal and patience and communication with the district will be the keys to get through traditional and virtual learning this year.

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