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Teachers dance and clap for the school year, and then the superintendent issues the mask mandate for 50,000 students


The teachers gathered in the Bartlett High School auditorium in Anchorage, crowded in together, hardly a mask in sight, while a woman who appeared to be Superintendent Deena Bishop sashayed across the stage to the microphone.

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The lyrics to the song, “Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now” blared, and teachers rose from their seats and clapped, bobbed, and sang along, as they would in church:

“There’s been so many things that’s held us down
But now it looks like things are finally comin’ around
I know we’ve got, a long long way to go
And where we’ll end up, I don’t know”

It was a school leadership conference moment captured for posterity by Assembly member John Weddleton for his Facebook followers, and he was clearly in the groove with enthusiasm when he wrote, “The School Board has way more fun than the Assembly. The ASD leaders summit turned into a dance party. There seems to be a lot of excitement for a year that is not like last year.”

That didn’t age well.

One day after the video went live on Facebook, Bishop sent a letter to parents saying that she will require face masks on all 50,000 children in the district, from K-12, plus on staff and teachers’ faces when school begins this fall.

Her decision was reviewed by the Anchorage School Board on Tuesday and they declined to take any action or advise her to change course.

Bishop, the leader of Anchorage schools and ultimate decider, was taking her cues from the board itself. Word is, school board member Pat Higgins had bullied her and said she would be fired if she didn’t put a mask mandate in place. And so she did. Her job was clearly on the line. The decision was clearly in her wheelhouse, but she bent to the pressure of her employers, the Anchorage School Board. It’s pure cowardice.

The decision not only covers all traditional buildings operated by the school district, but also stretches to charter schools that operate out of their own private buildings, if those schools are under the supervision of the school district.

Anchorage parents wondered what happened to the mayoral order, made on July 1 by Mayor Dave Bronson, that said, “Effective today, mask mandates in all Municipality of Anchorage owned, leased, or used buildings is rescinded. While individuals may make personal choices to wear a mask as a protective health measure, masks will not be required to be worn by anyone entering or while with a municipal facility. In addition, the Municipality of Anchorage will not require any employees, or applicants for city employment, to be vaccinated.”

Aren’t school buildings owned by the Municipality of Anchorage? If not the municipality, then is it the school district? Has the mayor no jurisdiction to override the superintendent?

Such are the questions of reasonable people, the ones who observe with a raised eyebrow the see-saw advice coming from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But our government is structured in such a way that the Assembly must stay out of the School Board’s realm.

Even child advocate Assemblywoman Jamie Allard, who said that masking children eight hours a day constitutes child abuse, only has her voice to use — she has no authority over the school board or the superintendent. She can only be a verbal champion and critic of the mask policy being laid down as law in Anchorage Schools. At least she stood up and said what many parents think: This mask policy is child abuse.

In the same way, the governor of Alaska cannot hand down edicts to the Anchorage School Board. Gov. Mike Dunleavy has his own jurisdiction and in reality, Alaskans would not want to grant a governor that level of authority.

Friends, we get the local government that we elect. Anchorage voted for this school board, and this school board’s the exception of one, is a radical body. Scores and graduations are dropping, suicides among students are rising, and this board and this superintendent is going to muzzle the young faces all over again — with no end in sight, no set point for when the muzzles can come off.

It was Kelly Lessens who was elected to serve out the term of Starr Marssett, who resigned earlier this year. Lessens said during the most recent school board meeting that Americans don’t live in a fundamentally free society, inferring that putting a mask on children should be an acceptable price to pay for living in America.

She will have to run for reelection in 2022 and those words will, perhaps, come back to haunt the hardcore Democrat.

Margo Bellamy, the racially charged School Board President who supports using critical race theory in schools, has a term that also ends in 2022. Her seat could use some freshening up, as well.

If both of those seats flip to conservative, the Anchorage School Board will be more diverse in its perspective, but it will still vote for a progressive, union agenda at least until the 2023 election. Only Dave Donley is standing for education, not fads, for Anchorage schools.

Read: Dave Donley: Why I voted against the masking of the young

The adage goes, “The beatings will stop when morale improves.” This is our Anchorage School District today under the current leadership.

The fear-based, NEA-driven, science-free masking of our children will continue until Anchorage voters have had enough and start treating the school board elections with more concern than any other elected body. There are recalls, there are lawsuits, but all of this has to start with the stakeholders — the parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles, and dare we say, the students themselves.

Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.


    • Nice comment Greg, I assume the body bags are for the spike protein clotted folks who were bullied into taking your precious experimental Jab?

      • No they’re for people like you who wouldn’t get the shot until it was too late and they were gasping for breath at the front door of the hospital like a carp out of water.

  1. Don’t bother to vote? This is what you get. You deserve this, Anchorage.

    Don’t blame the school board. Blame yourselves.

  2. It is time for civil disobedience just like the Reverend Martin Luther King used during the Civil Rights era of the 1960s. People need to stand up for what’s right and make change happen. Stand up for your kids and grandkids. Or lose them. Send your kids to school without masks and a parental note that says, “My child will not wear a mask”. Make the district figure it out from there. If enough take a stand, we will win for the kids.

    Here’s another choice: Enroll your students in the Mat-Su schools where masks are not mandated.

    One other option: Require vaccinations of ALL ASD staff and personnel. “Protect The Teachers!”

    • The hypocrite King was known as a domestic terrorist. Don’t confuse the civil Rights movement to anything that he had on his agenda. King was anything better Reverend but those hookers up in that hotel room the night before they blew his brains out, and with all the violence that he instigated. The FBI had the goods on him when Hoover had him bugged and even Kennedy signed off on it. Stop trying to rewrite history.

  3. They are not fear-based, they are control freaks. They are communist nuts. They want 50,000 kids to sit and breathe their own exhaust 7 hours a day. Good god. Let’s see if these parents put up with this nonsense. The scam continues.

    • Alaska is truly such a small space with small minds. Look at what’s going on in the world outside of Alaska and you’ll see that it’s really just small potatoes up there. The little ant hill that’s scurrying around because there’s rain coming really doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things.

  4. If parents will organize and get a large portion of parents to keep their kids home for a week in protest, that would hit the district financially, wouldn’t it, as well as sending the message that the fascists are going to be on a short leash. Nothing was done when they slid their “equity” b.s. by everyone. I don’t know if they or the Superintendent picks the suggested reading list for the District staff, but they picked almost all marxist Critical Race Theory types of books. Then they have the brass to say that they aren’t teaching CRT! Then why read the books? Come on, man!

  5. I must be missing something does ASD not get my Tax money? If so the Municipality damn well has every right to restrict the mandate. Maybe Mayor Bronson should use the bully pulpit.

    • You evidently are one that thinks wearing a mask is like giving up a kidney Steven. Next time you are wondering about masks take one that you have and try spitting with it on and tell us how far your spittle went.
      That’s why masks work, they prevent one’s moisture droplets in our breath from traveling where they can be picked by others close by. We know that’s how this virus is transmitted and anything that can shut down those droplets help.
      You don’t like it tough noogies.
      Still try the mask and spitting exercise and give us your report. Heheh!

  6. Great article! Thanks for sharing the message. Please get involved at any level to stop this madness that the media continues with their fear mongering.

  7. Think your local community culture has gone to hell? You’re probably right.

    It starts here, with local school boards. Elections most people don’t vote in, and don’t become involved with.

    The school board drifts leftward, nobody notices. It drags the community left, nobody really cares. It’s just the school system. School board meeting? Can’t, there’s something on TV that’s more important. PTA tonight? Football is on.

    Fast forward 20 years and here you are. Ethan and company didn’t happen overnight. The ground work was laid back in the 90s. Courtesy of the local school board.

    Don’t think it can happen in the valley? It already is. Same with Kenai, same with the interior.

  8. Why shouldn’t the union-management team who own and operate Anchorage’s education industry dance and clap?
    In their minds, they won. They”ll be paid for doing nothing but forcing children into obedience-mask training, brainwashing illiterate children into hating each other through the miracle of Critical Race Theory.
    Best of all, Anchorage’s easily corruptible mail-in ballot scheme assures the union-management powerhouse keeps winning, that is until resourceful, cunning, angry taxpayers figure out how to tear down the mail-in racket and start over.
    While the rotten bast… (hey!) dance and clap, productive Anchorage residents undoubtedly prepare to leave, disenroll children speed up Eaglexit, start property-tax revolts, start mass disobedience, file class-action lawsuits against the school district to recover property taxes paid for school services not provided
    …all of which oughtta go a long way toward drying up the education industry’s dance and clap fund, put the dancers and clappers on the street with the rest of the bums.
    Why not force the Peoples School Board Commissar to make good on its threat to close School Board meetings because too many angry parent-taxpayers show up, and broadcast the show on national news networks?
    We’re not being mean, we just wanna see how the monkeys dance and clap when their organ grinder gets run out of town.

  9. Why do Americans always seem to fall back on “Well, this is what you voted for…it’s all your fault” as if we live in a pure democracy where the majority rule over the minority?
    That’s not our system of government.
    We live in a constitutional republic with democratically elected representatives.
    Those representatives are not free to do whatever they want…the state and federal constitutions limit their authority to whatever powers we agreed to give them….explicitly give them.
    Unless you subscribe to the false notion that new or expanded governmental authority can be interpreted out of vague wording in the constitution by politicians, bureaucrats and judges the government has no legitimate authority to impose mask mandates on us under some made up theory of public health.
    If you do agree that the government, from the top right down to some random petty school board bureaucrat, can simply declare that some threat to public health exists to justify taking away our rights then there are no limits, constitutional or otherwise, on government power.

    • Because, P.J., some fear to accept the reality that their last and only leverage for remove bad and reward good through America’s once sacrosanct election process, is falling under coordinated, nationwide attack
      … and the attack, if successful, will profoundly change their lives for the worse, and they have neither clue nor mindset to defeat it.
      They don’t think in terms of crushing the attackers. Why should they if the attackers are the very masters to whom they eagerly entrusted their whole lives?
      So they project their growing doubts and fears on you in the hope that you’ll explain the problem to them, or better yet, fix the problem and not bother them.
      Put another way, the concept of representatives morphing into rulers through election corruption may be as impossible to grasp for these well meaning Americans as the concept of blind obedience to any two-bit government drone who says he’s in charge may be to you.

  10. Just as long as Deena Bishop nor any of her ASD cohorts go get a job at a private school or state run homeschool programs when public school employment is no longer desirable.

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