Dozens of parents and students went to the Lauderdale County Board of Education meeting Wednesday night to tell board members how they feel about the recent decision to move students to remote learning and cancel all extracurricular activities until Nov. 30.
The meeting was so packed, many had to wait outside or in a hallway to address the board. Everyone inside was wearing masks, and some parents gathered outside of the meeting with signs saying "Let them play."
Courtney Bowling was one of those parents. Her son is a senior and plays on the Brooks High School Basketball team.
"They're heartbroken. These boys went to Birmingham last year and competed in the final four," said Bowling. "Every game matters when you're trying to repeat what you did last year and go even further."
Camryn Williams is a teammate of Bowling's son, and he said they didn't find out they couldn't play until right before practice Tuesday afternoon.
"This means a lot to us. This is more than basketball to us, this is our life and we want to be able to do it the right way," said Williams.
It wasn't just Brooks High School players and parents at Wednesday's meeting. Students and parents from each high school showed up for their chance to tell the board how they feel.
For Bowling, she said why not let the kids play with no fans, and allow them to livestream the game outside?
"You gotta think about the physical activity that they get every day at practice and just what that does for their mental health, as well, so it really takes away a lot more than just a record or four games," said Bowling.
Between Nov. 8 and 14, the school system had 685 students and staff in quarantine and about 60 active coronavirus cases. That's what led the board to make this decision. The board did not vote on reversing its decision Wednesday but said it will take the comments into consideration.