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Over 1,000 people join Facebook group protesting virtual school in Wausau

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Wausau, Wis. (WAOW) -- A Facebook group created to protest the Wausau School Board's decision to start the year virtual now has more than 1,000 members after it was created last week.

April Van Rixel, a local mom, created the group after finding there was not any support online for parents who opposed the decision.

"Families are having to decide between going to work and putting food on the table or educating their kids, and that's not something they should have to decide," she said.

Jennifer McCaa, another mom who is a member of the group, said this decision could be detrimental to her kids' academic success. She said her sons struggled with taking classes online back in the spring.

"They're not getting the support that they need from schools, and they're not getting the support that they need from their friends," she said. "Some families don't have the support, the backup support."

Now the group is organizing a protest in order to call attention to what Van Rixel said are the needs of many families and students.

"My motive is to help the kids, get the kids back in school and help them get the quality education that they need and that they deserve," she said.

Those protest plans were called into question by Wausau School Board President Tricia Zunker last week. She said she called the police on the group after hearing that they were planning to protest in front of her home.

"If people want to protest, maybe they can get a permit for the 400 block or something, and I say go for it," Zunker said. "But not private residence, that's off limits."

But the group said they have no plans to protest in front of Zunker's home.

"That's not okay, that's not what this is about at all," McCaa said. "We just want our voices to be heard."

Zunker released a statement Monday, in part encouraging people to comply with safety standards so kids can get back to the classroom quickly.

The group's protest will take place downtown this Saturday.

Natalie Sopyla

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