In April, South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster signed a law requiring that every family must be given the option of sending their children to school five days a week no later than April 26, 2021. Yet some South Carolina families are still being denied in-person classroom instruction and are stuck in virtual learning.
Berkeley County School District is one of the South Carolina school districts failing to comply with state law. The District claims it is offering five-day, in-person instruction, but that option was only available to families who chose it at the beginning of the school year. Many families who opted for virtual learning in the beginning or who transfer in mid-year, like Brigette Herbst and her children, still have no access to in-person learning.
All three of Brigette Herbst’s children are students in the Berkeley County School District, but two of her children are being told the five-day, in-person classroom instruction guaranteed under South Carolina’s new law is not available. Herbst is suing the district for denying her children equal protection under the law and equal access to education, and continuing to harm her kids by forcing them to stay in virtual learning.
“After over a year of virtual learning, I thought we finally had the law on our side and a mandate to get our kids back in school,” said Brigette. “It is sad that I had to find lawyers and file a lawsuit to get the school district follow state law and do what’s best for kids.”
Attorneys from the Liberty Justice Center are representing Herbst and her middle school children. They’ve filed a complaint against the Berkeley County School District and the superintendent and asked the Court to take emergency action to force the district to immediately comply with state law.
“Berkeley County is violating state law and failing to serve all students who want to return to school,” said Daniel Suhr, senior attorney for the Liberty Justice Center. “The law is clear that all South Carolina students must have access to in-person learning. The school district is brazenly ignoring parents’ pleas for education and must be held accountable.”