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As mourners remember Frisco math teacher, leaders push for educators to be vaccinated

Several members of the state board of education wrote Texas leaders urging them to add teachers and staff to the next phase of the vaccination rollout.

PLANO, Texas — Mourners in Plano remembered Frisco math teacher Scott Benschneider on Tuesday. He passed away in early February due to complications from COVID-19. 

“We had hundreds of messages from our students, and as I read through them and the messages from our staff, three things kept coming up – his humor, sacrifice, and love,” Lebanon Trail High School Principal Jake Duce said. “Many of the sentiments from the students, it was shared that they didn’t like math, it wasn’t their best subject, but the teacher that they loved the most, and the one that they trusted the most, and they respected the most, was Mr. B.”

“He loved those kids. He would fight fiercely to protect them, fiercely to love them, fiercely to give them what they needed for the next level,” Duce said. 

Benschneider’s passing comes as leaders in education push to get teachers and staff vaccinated. 

“I’m so thankful for what our teachers have done and that’s why I’m just really ready for our teachers to be healthy and safe,” Texas State Board of Education member Aicha Davis said. “Since the very, very beginning they have been true heroes throughout the pandemic.”

Several members of the state board of education wrote the State of Texas urging them to add teachers and staff to the next phase of the vaccination rollout.

“We have teachers who have underlying conditions still going to work every single day with students,” Davis said. “We do have a duty to protect those professionals and we can’t expect them to be heroes and not offer them any type of protection.”

Rena Honea is the president of Alliance AFT that represents about 5,000 employees in Dallas ISD. 

“Our hope was that all of the educators would be in 1A,” Honea said. “It is a frightening situation knowing that they could be infected, cause difficulty for themselves as well as their family members when they go home.”

When the CDC recommended who should be vaccinated next they listed frontline essential workers like teachers, support staff, and daycare workers. Texas has not yet followed that recommendation.

“They still need to be safe and healthy so we can keep them in that classroom as long as we possibly can to serve our students,” Davis said.

Davis just hopes the world of education is able to avoid more deaths like Scott Benschneider.

“One of his former colleagues at Lonestar said I’m a better man, father, husband, and educator for having worked with Scott,” Lonestar Principal Jake Duce said.