WASHINGTON, DC (Network Indiana) — Your child should have the option of going back to the classroom next month, says Rep. Jim Banks, and he’s trying to help schools that offer that option have some immunity from being sued. Banks is also trying to withhold some federal money from schools that do not reopen.
Banks talked about the “Reopen Our Schools Act” on Fox News.
“It provides schools with what they’re asking for: liability protections. But, at the same time it prevents federal funding from going to schools that don’t reopen in the fall,” he said.
Banks authored the bill last month, along with Rep. Tom Tiffany (R-Wis.). Pres Trump has since been pushing for schools to reopen. Banks’ bill requires that by Sept. 8.
“Also I carve out an opportunity to seek out a waiver through the federal Dept. of Education, if they have unique circumstances,” he said.
Banks said he believes schools have a safe and responsible way to reopen, and may also offer a virtual option.
“Over 80 percent of parents who were surveyed in almost every school district in my district (3rd Dist. of Indiana, the northeast part of the state), tells schools that they want their kids to go back to the classroom five days a week,” said Banks. “But, you still have districts like in New Your and California who are failing to provide the leadership at all to get their districts reopened.”
Banks said if they don’t he believes it’s reasonable to withhold federal funding.
“Why does a school need a federal school safety grant if they don’t reopen in the fall? That’s the question that my bill, the ‘Reopen Our Schools Act’, is asking.”
Some educators have criticized Banks and the bill for threatening to withhold money during a tough time. State Superintendent of Education Jennifer McCormick has criticized Pres. Trump for trying to force schools to reopen when some do not feel it’s safe.