Twenty-four hours ago, Jessica Garcia’s son and daughter began to cry. She had just hung up the phone with her friend, Danielle, who had delivered the bad news. She was speechless, betrayed, lost.
Hours earlier, the Washington State Supreme Court had ruled that her child’s school—Destiny Charter Middle School in Tacoma—was unconstitutional.
School had been in session for three weeks.
“I felt stabbed. I felt let down,” Jessica said. “It just felt like the bottom dropped out from underneath me.”
As Jessica reached out to hold her crying children, she began to cry, too.
It was the Friday before Labor Day weekend and—with one phone call—everything she knew for certain had been thrown into peril. In all, 9 public charter schools were impacted by the ruling, throwing 1200 families into chaos. What happens now?
That’s when she decided to pick the phone back up again and start making calls.
She found the Chief Justice’s phone number online and left a message. She called the Mayor of Tacoma. She called friends, parents, family members, her own mother, who, in turn, all started making calls as well.
My birthday is on Monday and I don’t even know if the Capitol is open then, but I would love nothing more than to march down there and yell at the top of my lungs.
On Saturday morning, she made more calls, this time to her fellow parents at Destiny. The school leaders had made it clear that, come Tuesday, their doors would stay open, and Jessica had volunteered to get the word out.
“I was calling to reassure parents that their kids still have a safe space to learn. That’s what they need to hear right now.”
But the calls were heartbreaking to make. The parents who picked up the phone were scrambling for answers. “What can we do?” They asked, confused and worried but determined to do something.
Many thought back to why they had enrolled their children at Destiny in the first place.
One mother told Jessica that this is the first time her children were excited to go to school. Another said she finally felt like she “had her daughter back again.”
For many of the families, Destiny and the other schools had given them hope again, allowing them to reconnect in ways they didn’t know were still possible.
But it was impractical not to think beyond Tuesday and what would happen to her daughter, Isadora, and the other students. Still, she has to strike a balance.
“I plan on keeping things as normal as possible for her,” Jessica said of her daughter, who is in 6th grade. “But I’m still fighting. Not just for my daughter, but for the other children, too.”
“My birthday is on Monday and I don’t even know if the Capitol is open then, but I would love nothing more than to march down there and yell at the top of my lungs.”
You can read Stand for Children's statement on the court ruling here.