RRISD Students Fight to Save the Job of a Staffer Affected by Covid-19

How one student petition made the city news


After the news that a teacher had quit her job due to the circumstances of Covid-19 (going to campus to teach). Many of Mrs. Larson’s students decided that they were not going to let her go without a fight. One student in particular (the focus of this article)
Tara Kurkal (8th grade) decided that the best thing to do would be to start a petition. It even made the KVUE news. There was a lot of support for Mrs. Larson all thanks to Tara. Here is look on the situation along with an interview with Tara herself.

The petition, and Tara

Tara is an eighth-grader at Canyon Vista who at the time of hearing about Mrs. Larson leaving was very upset. Her next thought was one of support for Mrs. Larson as well as trying to help her. Tara’s petition got a lot of support from RRISD students and parents with hundreds of signatures, and the issue became citywide known thanks to KVUE News. When asked why she started the petition Tara said, “Mrs. Larson is an amazing teacher, and she is always so happy and putting a smile on my face. She always made me want to go to online classes and she always put her students before herself.” Mrs. Larson was a very beloved teacher at Canyon Vista, and her leaving had an effect on a great number of students, it also showed a problem facing several of our teachers who needed to make decision about returning to campus to teach.

Teacher having to leave

Unfortunately due to the circumstances involving Covid-19 the district put out a rule stating all teachers had to teach on campus, unless they had an ADA ruling, and not from home. If you could not get an ADA exemption, then you had to make a choice to come back or resign. There are mixed feelings on the rule, some saying it is necessary to keep students at school focused and engaged in learning, although others feel differently, including Tara. “Yes I think it is unfair, but they (RRISD) said it was out of their hands so I trust they did everything they could to not lose teachers. I also think it is unfair and that Mrs. Larson shouldn’t have to leave, but I do know Mrs. Larson is an amazing teacher and she’ll do great things wherever she goes next.”

Bringing Canyon Vista together

This bitter situation has really brought Canyon Vista together as a whole, thanks to Mrs. Larson and Tara as well, when asked about the support she had gotten Tara said, “I was so in awe of everyone who came together just to help me with the cause. I mean with all the different movements going on I would think everyone would separate themselves but I think something like this really brought our school together.” She was not wrong. The petition got hundreds of signatures with countless people advertising it on social media and in their own classes as well.

Moving forward

It is going to be hard for Mrs. Larson’s students to move forward especially with the impact that she left on so many of them, but unfortunately the fight is over. Although it is over, it will not go in vain. Tara’s final message was one of thankfulness and self-awareness, “Thank you to all the people who signed my petition, that I am so, so thankful for everyone,  that we should all be nicer to our teachers this year because they are all doing a lot to keep teaching us during this pandemic.”

Special thanks

Thank you to Tara for allowing me to profile her throughout this article, and for putting up with my bad scheduling. To Mrs. Larson who is a great teacher and will be missed in our community, and to all of our teachers who are still working tirelessly to teach us through the difficult times. Stay safe.