Russian Roulette?

A year ago this week, my eight-year-old blog skyrocketed with over 1,500 hits because it was entitled, COVID and Sports. Over 90% were from angry parents bemoaning the suspension of fall sports. Thankfully, my school board career ended in December, and I no longer have to worry about the safety and well-being of 30,000 students. However, as a 50-year educator I still care about children, school, and COVID.

As a child, I had measles, mumps, and chicken pox. (Dr. Salk saved me from polio.) During each of those illness, I was quarantined until the County Health Department nurse visited our home and certified my return to school. My very conservative parents never questioned school-required immunizations, nor mandated quarantines. But then again, my parents never questioned restaurant dress codes, snow emergency road closures, nor seat belt laws. Further, my parents’ household ran on rules. Any instance of disrespect to a teacher, a family member, or a random adult was met with some form of discipline. At 16, I ran the front end of the family sedan into another car; the damage required a tow and a month of repairs. Jobs were scarce for teens, so I worked all summer on the chore list to pay the bill for damages. Believe me, I washed a lot of cars, mowed a lot of lawns, trimmed a lot of bushes, hoed a lot of corn, and worked as my dad’s office assistant during employee vacations. Yet, I knew my parents wanted the best for me. They strove to set parameters so I stayed safe and well.

In my boredom last week, I watched the public comment section of several local school board meetings. I was absolutely astounded! One by one, young parents urged, demanded, or yelled at the school board: These are MY kids! You’ve NO right to tell them to wear masks! Don’t you dare quarantine my child. My child has rights; I’m his parent, and I’ll decide if he wears a mask. You can’t make my child get a vaccination. Don’t you dare talk to my child about her social-emotional health.

The more I watched, the more disturbed I became. Russian roulette? With children? A “potentially deadly” game. Young parents standing on some ideology which will undoubtedly bring hospitalizations, permanent physical damage, or even death. The news is filled with stories of naysayers who died simply because of their own ignorance, and I’m OK with that. But I’m appalled parents would risk their children’s lives. Would they give their kid a gun with only one bullet and spin the chamber?

At Sutter Creek Elementary School last week, an elementary teacher was beaten by a parent over the mask mandate. COVID is to blame–not the battered, hospitalized teacher! COVID is the enemy, not schools, universities, airlines, nor restaurants. What’s so difficult about safety protocols if we can defeat the enemy?

COVID doesn’t discriminate, and COVID doesn’t give a rat’s hind end about MY rights.

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