Pawtucket middle-schooler creates petition, asks school district to offer in-person learning

Blackstone Valley

PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WPRI) ─ A Pawtucket middle-schooler has started an online petition asking her school district to give all of its students the option to return in person.

In August, the Pawtucket School Committee voted to begin the school year remotely, with the exception of pre-K, kindergarten and special needs students.

Aeron Fargnoli, a seventh grader at Jenks Junior High School, tells 12 News she’s over remote learning.

“On the video chat, we’re not getting that one-on-one connection with our teachers,” she said. “So it’s more difficult to comprehend a lesson.”

The district came under fire by Gov. Gina Raimondo earlier this month, who accused the school committee of not trying hard enough to get students back into the classroom.

“Why is it that you are robbing the children of Pawtucket the opportunity to learn in school?” she questioned.

Following her remarks, Ronald Beaupre, president of the Pawtucket Teachers’ Alliance, demanded Raimondo apologize for her “reprehensible mischaracterization” of the city’s school department.

“She has not taken the time to actually talk to the people who are doing the work everyday,” Beaupre said of Raimondo.

After hearing of the ongoing feud between state and city officials, Fargnoli reached out to her dad for help.

“I do know right from wrong, and when Aeron came to me and said, ‘This doesn’t seem fair,’ I couldn’t argue with that,” her father Dave Fargnoli said.

That’s when Aeron decided to create an online petition to garner support for in person learning.

She hopes that the petition will prove just how many families are struggling with remote learning and that the school department will at the very least implement a hybrid learning plan where students have the option to return to the classroom.

Dave hopes her daughter’s petition succeeds before “COVID fatigue” sets in.

“They need to do whatever they can to try to do what’s right for the students of the city of Pawtucket,” Dave said.

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