By JAMIE ALLARD
As a parent, I’m concerned about the proposed reinstatement of the mask mandates for our children, who will be returning to school in a couple of weeks.
As a public figure, I understand that Superintendent Deena Bishop of the Anchorage School District is in a tough spot. The pressure on her is enormous.
Both the teachers’ union and majority of the school board are bullying her to order children back into masks. It seems all but inevitable that she will do so next week, and masking of our children will be the new normal.
What can parents of public school children who object to this masking policy do?
It’s a series of tradeoffs, most certainly. If you feel the masking of your children has gone too far and will harm their ability to learn, socialize, and enjoy school, perhaps now is the time to find a group of like-minded parents who can co-educate in a shared-responsibility home-school format. It takes time to find such a community of home-schooling parents, and it’s a daunting responsibility. But in Alaska, we are very well adapted to a home-school and hybrid-schooling learning environment.
Not all students will like the stay-home solution. They long for their friends and miss out on the camaraderie of being part of a class moving through the grades together. Children are social beings and need to be exposed to a wide variety of points of view and safe-but-expansive experiences. As imperfect as a school day may be, it is a place for them to stretch, learn, and grow.
Parents can also rise up and refuse to mask their children. Civil disobedience has consequences, too. It subjects children to another kind of pressure – that of having to stand up for their own rights against the very authority that grades them. Bullying by teachers and fellow students will occur. Once a student makes the decision to unmask, he or she will be sent to the nurse’s office and then banished to their home.
Grandstanding is not for the faint of heart. We have to look no further than what government and corporate America has done to the workplace to see what happens to those who do not comply with masks, vaccines, and other mandates.
The pro-maskers are moving quickly so concerned parents who want their children’s faces to be free cannot organize.
This, even though the CDC and the World Health Organization cannot agree on masking children. WHO advises against masking kids 5 and under, and only masking 6- to 11-year-olds under some circumstances.
The CDC advises masks should be worn by any unvaccinated person over 2 years old in all indoor public spaces.
WHO and CDC are giving completely different advice about masks on children.
The way this mask mandate racket worked last year was incremental and fundamentally incoherent. First came the lockdowns, then the masks combined with nonsensical, partial lockdowns. This year, it may occur in the reverse, as the Biden Administration, already mandating masks, appears perfectly willing to enact a national lockdown for an undetermined period of time, saying that the White House is just following the science.
We know better. It’s not science. This is naked politics. The Biden Administration would have closed the borders long ago if this was really about science. Biden is not quarantining the hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens coming into the country. The floodgates are open on the southern border, and meanwhile, Americans are being told to comply, comply, comply.
Rep. Dan Crenshaw of Texas has it right: “If the CDC, Biden, or any local leader recommends another lockdown, don’t comply. Businesses. Schools. Restaurants. No one should comply.”
Kenai Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce has it right: Don’t even think about putting masks back on children, since they rarely suffer any impact from the Covid-19 virus.
Mayor Dave Bronson also has it right: He has said there will be not be mask mandates on city property during his watch. I agree with him on that.
I also agree with those who believe that masking children is nothing short of criminal child abuse. Don’t do it, Anchorage School Board.
I call on all leaders in Alaska to stand against the masking of our innocent, children, who depend on us to defend them and their rights.
Parents, you can attend the school board meeting on Aug. 3 and voice your concerns. You can email all school board members at [email protected].
The time to weigh in is now, before it is too late. After the decision is made, your options as a parent get very narrow.
Jamie Allard is the Anchorage Assemblywoman representing Chugiak / Eagle River.