(WISCONSIN) — Ahead of Mike Pence’s visit to the Badger state on Friday, Wisconsin educators and parents blasted the Trump administration’s failure to properly address the COVID-19 pandemic, and underscored their willingness to further endanger Wisconsin lives. Madison School Board President Gloria Reyes, Aldo Leopold Community School teacher and Golden Apple Award recipient Ned Dorff, and Case High School teacher Judy Matus spoke out about the threat Trump and his administration pose to Wisconsinites and their families.

Watch the press event here or read excerpts below.

Madison School Board President Gloria Reyes: “I know there are students in our system who have had to watch a family member battle this deadly virus in horror, unable to help them through what is one of the scariest moments of their lives. And with Mike Pence’s visit to the Badger state, where he is meeting with people in person, he is flaunting the social distancing guidelines health experts are advising for but that his administration has abandoned. Just like Trump he has chosen to lie about this crisis, to downplay the severity, and to support policies that have put us in a situation where kids don’t know if they can safely go back to school and parents are wondering how they’ll provide for their families. And what I think scares me and the people I represent the most is that there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight simply because of this administration’s failure to lead…I have no doubt we will be in this crisis for months to come, and we simply can’t afford to have Trump, Pence, and their administration in charge for another four years — the consequences will be even more dire. It’s time for real leadership in the White House — it’s the only way we can recover from this pandemic and get our lives back.”

Aldo Leopold Community School Teacher Ned Dorff: “It’s no secret that COVID-19 has completely upended how we teach, including not being able to fully meet the needs of our children. It’s painful knowing they are suffering emotional traumas as they can’t be with their friends, work on the group projects they’ve grown accustomed to, and experience the socialization that helps them develop.  But our first responsibility as teachers and as parents is to keep our kids safe — there is nothing more important than that.”

Case High School Teacher Judy Matus: “I have seen so many kids hurt from so many different family situations. Especially now with COVID, Pence, Trump, DeVos, do not come from the neighborhood that I come from. I have lived in poor, not even middle class, but poor neighborhoods, and I know that both of those parents or even the single parent families, don’t have the money to deal with all of this. Donald Trump doesn’t care about them, Pence doesn’t care about them, and Betsy DeVos definitely doesn’t care about them, and that is a big struggle for me. If we had good leaders in our White House, we would have a good solution to, or at least be working toward a very viable solution to how to take care of these kids in the fall…They [Trump, Pence, Devos] don’t know the situation; they are not interested in the situation. I am really concerned that more people are going to die because of their lack of concern for us.”

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