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Marion County NAACP leader, local churches want to provide working parents with option to in-school learning

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Marion County NAACP President David Stockton hopes to make a formal presentation to the School Board. Image: MCPS via YouTube

The Marion County NAACP president told the School Board Thursday that local churches plan to provide learning hubs for children whose parents are afraid to send them to school during he pandemic.

The students will take online classes using Wi-Fi at the church.

Bishop J. David Stockton III, who is also senior pastor at Greater New Hope in Silver Springs Shores, said working parents are worried and feel they have no choice but to send their kids to school.

He said a dozen churches already plan to give them that choice — a safe place, with COVID-19 precautions, for 15 to 20 kids with a volunteer keeping an eye on them.

“We’re just trying to make sure that our children have a smaller, safer space, more comfortable space to stay focused on their online programing as an option,” he said.

School Board Chair Eric Cummings, who is pastor at New Zion Missionary Baptist in Ocala, says his church already has 22 people signed up.

Other board members praised the idea as a community-based alternative for parents.

“If parents are choosing not to send their kids to school,” said board member Nancy Thrower, “then it’s going to help all of us to make sure that we have options in the community with our partners.”

The board members want to provide the Wi-Fi but don’t want a formal partnership with legal requirements such as background checks.

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Joe Byrnes

About Joe Byrnes


Joe Byrnes came to WMFE/WMFV from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.