Writes a friend:
Like many others, I am against forced masking. I have attended rallies and contacted lawmakers. I have never worn one outside of my job, where I have little (no) choice in the matter. I am a public school teacher.
I recently wrote the letter below to my school board members and superintendent. I took out names lest I reveal the district for which I work. I wrote it as a parent with a child who attends the district. I have a beautiful daughter who is forced to wear a mask. I have told her many times that she does not have to. I will take her to our incredible local doctor and will get an exemption. That offer always results in her begging me not to: she is terrified that she will be ostracized and targeted. I have even offered to let her “learn virtually,” a term which I use lightly. Fortunately, we are near the end of the school year. I wanted to share this letter with you because of nine people to whom I wrote, I received one response. One. Perhaps some of your readers have had similar experiences as they have attempted to make their voices of reason heard.
On April 12th, the (redacted) members voted to keep a mask mandate which required students and teachers to be fully masked at all times when six feet of distance could not be maintained. One of the primary factors in this determination appeared to include the requirements of unmasked students and teachers to quarantine when possible exposure to Covid-19 occurred. It was made clear that virtual instruction during quarantine can in no way equal the quality of instruction that can be provided in a face to face learning environment, a fact with which I am certain nearly all teachers, students, and parents would agree. On April 19th, however, the board reconvened in an emergency meeting where they declared that masks would no longer be required in outdoor settings such as sporting events. Quarantine measures, however, had not been lessened. Unmasked students, teachers, and coaches exposed to Covid-19 in an outdoor environment would still be at risk of quarantine. This decision was made in distinct opposition to the viewpoints offered at the previous meeting: we wear masks so we do not have to quarantine. Now, with the passing of SB590 (now Act 1002) we see an obvious acknowledgement of the political theater that forced masking has always been. Recent action by lawmakers clearly supports a disagreement with forced masking, while inaction by the governor in regards to SB590 appeared to me a silent statement of admission to his original overreach that began in the summer of 2020. Now, because of the failure to pass an emergency clause which would put an immediate end to this overreach, SB590 (now Act 1002) will not go into effect until July, thus failing to protect our children from the continuance of overreach despite a clearly worded decision from our board on April 19th. The decision of April 19th (7 days after the meeting where the board voted to keep all mask requirements) indicated that with any change in Arkansas law our students would be allowed to remove their unsanitary, unsightly, uncomfortable, and ineffective facial coverings.
As a parent, it hurts my heart each day to see my beautiful daughter shroud her face. It angers me to see her gasp for breath and struggle with headaches and eye strain as she is forced to breathe in her own exhalations and stare at the top of her ridiculous mask each day. It makes me question the moral integrity of our leaders as I see her forced to cover God’s countenance that we as Christians have been instructed to show.
Members of the board, this is no longer about the safety of our students and staff members. Covid-19, a virus which I will not digress to argue the validity of, is not a virus which negatively impacts most children. Masks, however, are a direct contributor to learning problems, struggles in social interactions, increased headaches and asthma, anxiety, and overall discomforts. Members, I see only a forcible push to show sovereignty and authority: the board members demand compliance from the superintendents, who in turn must demand begrudging compliance from administrators, who in turn must demand compliance from tired teachers, who in turn must demand compliance from fed up students. As a parent, I am livid that my child continues to be treated in this manner. This is reprehensible, disturbing, and totally unnecessary. I ask, as it is no secret that I have asked before: please unmask our children. I am under no misconception that my lone voice will incite change, however, I cannot sit in silent acceptance of the maltreatment that my child is experiencing by being forced to cover her nose and mouth on a daily basis. If a parent is concerned about the safety of their own children, then they should require that their own children be masked. They should not, however, impose their own fears upon all the children of the district. They should not require our kindergarteners to smother themselves. They should not require our teenagers to long to commit immature acts of rebellion involving arriving to school en-masse without facial coverings. They should not make our children yearn for learning yet detest entering a school building.
Many thanks to the members of the board who have been vocal and active in taking a stand for what is right: removal of the imposition of the 14th amendment rights of our children. It is a pity that our children continue to be punished by the (muffled) voices of those who wish to see our children masked in the useless rags of insanity.