A family of five has been left devastated after their school was closed and some teachers were put on unpaid leave, with parents told they would not be able to return home until their children were on track to attend school.
Teachers, who had to work without pay, have been left struggling to get back to work after the closures of the four-year-old Weston-super-Mare primary school, which were due to start next month, and the two other schools in Clayton County.
They are among those affected by a new state rule that states that children cannot be forced to attend schools unless there are more than two other children in the household.
One parent, who wished to remain anonymous, said she was forced to cancel a planned trip to her children’s school because she could not afford to cover the cost of flights.
She said: ‘I feel completely betrayed.
I was supposed to be the one that raised them and that they could go to school.
‘I was told to go home and I couldn’t come back.’
The first thing they told me was that they were going to do a school closure.’
I thought it was a bit strange because they were supposed to come home, and they didn’t.’
Clayton County Schools (CCS) spokesman, Chris Wilson, said the closure was due to the state-appointed board of education having to consider whether to continue the school closures.
He said: ‘[The closure] is something that is being considered and is a very significant event.’CCS is working with the government and state to ensure we can move ahead with our plans for the future.’
We have no intention of returning to a closed school system.’
Wilson said CCS had no plans to reopen the schools but it would ‘take the necessary steps to do so in the future’.
The closure of the schools comes as thousands of parents, teachers and community members protest against the closure of public schools in the United States.
A petition has attracted more than 30,000 signatures calling for a boycott of schools in America.
The petition, launched by parents and teachers on Change.org, states: ‘The only reason the school closure was necessary is because the school board decided to close the school without consulting the parents or teachers of the students.
‘This was done on the basis of an assumption that all students would have been returned to school, even though the evidence shows otherwise.
Parents are not being allowed to return to their children, while staff are being told to not go to the school, and teachers are being sent home on unpaid notice.’
It is unconscionable that the state board was forced by a decision made by the board of a private school to keep their students in a closed environment for the rest of their lives.’
The parents say that the closure is being forced on parents because they do not want their children to have to return, when they can be at school.
They say that this will force many parents to cancel school trips, which could be catastrophic for children.
In a statement, CCS said it was investigating the closure and working with government agencies to ensure the schools reopen.
It added: ‘CCS does not want its students to be isolated in a classroom when they are not in the classroom.’
But in a statement to the Sunday Times, the state government said it had been consulted and had made arrangements to help the families cope with the closure.
State schools closures are common across the US, and have prompted protests and calls for state officials to reopen them.