Florida Teacher Writes Her Own Obituary to Protest the State Reopening Schools amid Coronavirus
"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," Whitney Reddick's mock obituary read
A 33-year-old teacher from Florida wrote an emotional protest to the state reopening schools during the coronavirus pandemic — in the form of her own obituary.
Whitney Reddick of Jacksonville posted a mock obituary to social media on Monday to express her concerns about in-person teaching resuming at the state's public schools. Reddick's post — which she planned to read at a school board meeting the following day — detailed her life as a teacher, mother and wife.
"With profound sadness, I announce the passing of Whitney Leigh Reddick," Reddick's mock obituary begins. "She left us while alone in isolation and on a ventilator at a Duval county hospital in Jacksonville, Florida."
"Whitney never took the easy path, she was assertive, strong-willed, and bossy, she loved that word because, to her, it meant female leadership," the notice continued, in part. "She invested the time and dedication in improving and honing her passions to give them a voice, to not cower because she seemed too loud, too aggressive, or uneducated. She was introspective and when an adversary arose, she listened, therefore, to become better equipped in leaving the adversary unarmed and better informed."
Reddick's obituary then turned its focus on those in leadership who didn't advocate to keep schools closed in the interest of public safety.
"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," wrote Reddick, who has a 14-month-old son.
"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," she continued. "Yes, of course too soon, but we are the ones left with holes in our hearts, missing how big hers was."
A recent NPR poll found 82 percent of teachers are afraid of returning to the classroom with coronavirus cases continuing to rise around the country. Florida, where Reddick is from, has seen more than 7,740 deaths and at least 510,381 cases since the pandemic began, according to The New York Times.
The United States has seen more than 4.9 million cases and at least 159,984 deaths from the virus as of Friday afternoon.
Florida Commissioner of the Department of Education, Richard Corcoran, issued an executive order last month requiring all schools to open for "at least" five days a week this fall. The mandate has been supported by both President Donald Trump and education secretary Betsy DeVos.
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Reddick's obituary ended by calling out Florida's governor and Jacksonville's mayor.
"Please send your condolences to Governor Ron DeSantis, Mayor Lenny Curry, and finally the Duval County School Board and Superintendent," she wrote.
According to WFLA, a lawsuit was filed against DeSantis by Florida's largest teacher union this week to give school districts the authorization to say whether schools should reopen this year.
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