Florida teacher writes own obituary to protest returning to classrooms

For some teachers and students the school year has already begun, but for others they’re getting ready to head back to the classroom whether it be virtual or in-person.

There’s a great debate about whether it is safe for classes to be held, especially coming from the president, who initially said schools that didn’t open would lose funding and then weeks later said schools in hot spots should reconsider their plans.

But how do those who will be impacted the most feel about returning to the classroom? One teacher from Jacksonville, Florida is very concerned.

“What if I go on a ventilator? What if my husband gets sick and then we’re both in there. Who takes care of our son?”

They’re all valid questions, and they’re all concerns that Whitney Reddick has leading up to the first day of classes in Duval County, Florida.

Reddick, who loves her job and teaches “children with severe special needs,” will return to the classroom as she’s been instructed, but it’s not without extreme worry.

In a show of protest, Reddick wrote her own obituary and shared it online.

She planned to read it during a school board meeting, but according to Action News Jax, she was unable to attend due to a family matter.

“With profound sadness, I announce the passing of Whitney Leigh Reddick. A loving and devoted teacher, mother, daughter, wife, aunt, and friend to all whose lives she touched, on August 7th, 2020,” she wrote.

Her obituary continued, in part:

However, even though she shouted from the rooftops, attempted to be unemotional, and educated herself in facts and science, she succumbed to the ignorance of those in power. She returned to work, did her best to handle all the roles placed on her shoulders; educator, COVID-security guard, human shield, firefighter, social worker, nurse, and caregiver but the workload weakened her, and the virus took hold. Whitney was taken from us. Yes, of course too soon, but we are the ones left with holes in our hearts, missing how big hers was.

You can read her entire obituary here.

Reddick, like many teachers across the country, does not believe it’s safe to return to the classroom. Although she will, Reddick feels it will be safer if class is held virtually.

Measures, like paying for teachers’ medical costs and increasing the availability of rapid testing, are currently being discussed to keep teachers safe, but Reddick wants more.

Mayor Lenny Curry, the mayor of Jacksonville, recently said that more testing will be available for teachers.

Do you think it’s safe for teachers to return to the classroom?

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