Rep. Wendy Brawley (D-Richland) stated the following in response to Governor Henry McMaster's press conference on reopening public schools amid the COVID-19 pandemic:
"The Governor’s press conference with the Republican leadership of the South Carolina House and Senate on the reopening of public schools today was a disservice to students, teachers, school staff, and parents. Aside from lacking any racial diversity among the members participating, there was also no diversity of options for school districts. The group’s attempt to present a unified front to pressure the State Superintendent of Education to deny any school district’s reopening plan that did not offer five days a week of in-person instruction in the midst of a pandemic is the height of bad faith. It is also in direct contradiction to the flexibility legislators voted to give the Superintendent of Education in the Continuing Resolution we passed in May.
The health and safety of students, teachers, staff and parents should be elected officials’ first priority and no parent should feel forced to sacrifice their child’s safety or health in order to restore the economy. It’s wrong, it’s dangerous and it’s arrogant to try to force parents to make that choice. In fact, it’s not a choice at all; it’s coercion. Shame on the Governor and those who stood with him in support of this plan, orchestrated without the participation of parents, teachers or school boards. If the Governor and my Republican colleagues truly want to help students learn, they should vote to fully fund education. It has been underfunded by the state since 2008. Education should be non-partisan, but of course, the Governor’s press conference today shows that in South Carolina, it is not."
Rep. Brawley currently serves on the House Education and Public Works Committee, as well as the House COVID-19 Education Committee.