Attack on public schools is coordinated effort to destabilize
The attack on public schools around the country, scripted and funded by national groups eager to exploit cultural anxiety and weariness with the pandemic, isn’t just happening elsewhere. It’s happening here, and has been since last spring. Black-and-yellow clad Proud Boys and allied extremists group members are turning up at school board meetings and disrupting them. The Jan. 25 meeting of the Washougal School Board, for example, was adjourned because the Proud Boys in attendance wouldn’t put on masks. By refusing to follow Board policy, they essentially seized control of the agenda and deprived law-abiding citizens the chance to present comments to the Board. After the walkout on Monday of approximately 100 students at Washougal High School over the state mask mandate – a walkout, by the way, fully accommodated by the school administration – our local anti-public school group, the Washougal Moms and Skamania Defenders, put out a call on its Telegram account for “information” (that is, dirt) on the high school principal, whom they’ve bizarrely decided to claim is “racist.” They asked that anyone possessing “information” send it to the group “incognito” via an untraceable email address. Skullduggery and gaslighting in the service of the Moms’ far-right political and fundamentalist religious agenda is the order of the day, it would seem. Conspiracy theories, personal attacks, smears, harassment, the new and alarming presence of hate groups in our civic life – it’s all part of a coordinated effort to destabilize and ultimately destroy public schools as a foundational institution in American life. This isn’t a guess or a supposition; it’s right there online, in the group’s own words. As a community, the time for a decision has come. We must, as a body, step up and say, “Enough, no more.” Whatever your position on masks or any other topic, we all surely believe in decency. We all surely believe that some types of behavior are incompatible with democratic civil society. We call for mature and respectful discourse, and for an end to the histrionic attacks on our teachers, administrators, and school board.
East County Citizens’ Alliance,
Parents do not get to dictate school policy
Well, we tried to have another school board meeting (on Jan. 25), but the Washougal Moms and Proud Boys refused to wear masks. They argued with the board. They were offered masks. They had the rules explained to them multiple times. They tried quoting the Constitution. And, in the end, the meeting was adjourned. This was going to be my statement (at the Jan. 25 meeting):
I would like to thank the Washougal School District for continuing to protect our students. Over the past couple of weeks, I have received almost daily emails about confirmed (COVID-19) cases at my child’s school. I have chosen to keep my child home from school certain days in order to “dodge COVID.” Here is a list of (COVID cases in Washougal schools over the) last two weeks:
Jan. 10: 4 students
Jan. 11: 3 students, 2 staff
Jan. 12: 2 students, 1 staff
Jan. 13: 5 students, 1 staff
Jan. 14: 3 students
Jan. 18: 7 students
Jan. 19: 11 students
Jan. 20: 2 student, 2 staff
Jan. 24: 2 students, 1 staff
Jan. 25: 6 students
This is exactly why students must wear masks at school and take precautions the state has mandated. I cannot fathom how horrible the case numbers would be if the district wasn’t following these mandates.
Thankfully, a legal precedent was recently set that masks can be mandated in schools. According to Reuters: “A federal judge has rejected a lawsuit by two Nevada parents challenging the state’s mandate that students in public schools in large counties wear masks for instruction and other indoor activities. U.S. District Judge Jennifer Dorsey on Wednesday denied the parents’ bid for a preliminary order blocking the mandate, finding they failed to explain how their constitutional rights were violated.” Furthermore, ‘These perceived wrongs don’t violate any constitutional rights,” Dorsey wrote. “The Constitution does not require an opportunity to participate in the decision-making process for such broadly applicable policies, and the fundamental right to parent does not include the prerogative to dictate school health and safety policies.”
So, the gist is this: Parents do not get to dictate public school policy. Parents don’t get to make decisions about other people’s children. No one’s Constitutional rights are being violated. No one is being discriminated against because of masks. No one is being harmed – physically, mentally, emotionally or psychologically – by wearing masks.
Parents do not get to dictate public school policy. Period.