PHILIPPI, W.Va. – Students from Barbour county gathered to peacefully protest the weekly West Virginia Department of Education color map, determining the type of instruction students will receive.
Payton Gregory is a senior at Philip Barbour High School and organized the event held Monday morning. The goal was to have the students voices be heard about their frustrations and fears that their education is being shorted.
“If the map says green, we need to be in school. If the map says red, we need to be out of school. We want the color map to be followed by our board of education, and just be treated fairly like the rest of the state,” said Gregory. “We are the only county not being treated fairly by the color map.”
Gregory’s worry isn’t only focused on the here and now. Her main focus is on her younger siblings, who are just getting started with their education, and how much their foundation is missing.
“I’m just worried about the whole community, that we’re not getting the education that I’ve grown up with, and the education I’m going to leave with is not going to be sufficient enough,” said Gregory.
Gregory’s younger brother Ethan is a soccer player and a junior at Philip Barbour, a pivotal year in considering higher education.
“I’m out here because I want to have a real education like we’re supposed to. Unlike sitting on the couch all day doing virtual work,” he explained. “I mean, I’m not learning anything new like I’m supposed to as we progress each year. I don’t get that in-person feel we get when we go to school. I learn physically while interacting socially with my peers, and I just think we’re being treated unfairly.”
Barbour County is orange according to the West Virginia Department of Education map on Monday. The students are still virtual, and there have been no further comments from the board of education saying they will change its learning method.