Falls church superintendent separates children whose parents refuse masking

Shortly after its inauguration last month, Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin signed an executive order giving parents the right to opt out of any local school mask mandate. School districts in the more left-leaning parts of the state — Richmond, Charlottesville and heavily populated Northern Virginia — were quick to announce that they would maintain their mask mandates. They also filed the lawsuit, claiming the order conflicts with a state law passed last year that requires schools to adhere “to the extent possible” to guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease. Control (who still recommend universal masking).

This lawsuit will eventually reach the Supreme Court of Virginia, which has already dismissed a lawsuit brought by pro-mask activists, unless the Virginia legislature renders it moot by passing a bill enforcing a policy to statewide against school mask mandates.

But if you follow the masking wars enough to click on this article, you probably know all about it. What you don’t know is that part of the massive resistance to parental rights and student freedoms — the post-pandemic return to normalcy — is the segregation of students whose parents refuse them to mask up.

Take the town of Falls Church, where I live, and where I ran unsuccessfully for the school board last fall. Five days after Youngkin signed the order, the Falls Church School Board adopted a policy to hide the opt-out effective Feb. 14. It’s three weeks later than the order specified – what’s three weeks of defying the law among friends? – but still leads the region. That’s admittedly a low bar, with Fairfax County simply refusing or suspending students who arrive at school without a mask, but at least it’s something.

To its credit, and despite pressure from the Branch Covidians who populate these areas, the school board did not change its policy after a local Arlington judge granted a preliminary injunction against Youngkin’s order earlier this week. . It’s been a welcome relief for parents who are hardly unreasonable to worry about cognitive development, language learning, mental health and other issues.

Superintendent Peter Noonan, however, stepped off the script with his final missive to the community, part of a periodic series called “Roots, Resilience & Renewal.”

Bad enough was this notice, in all caps: “NEW – – All UNVACCINED students whose parents have removed them from masking will be required to register and participate in weekly PCR screening tests.”

So what was a voluntary testing program — which served no purpose, merely quarantining asymptomatic students while making administrators feel like they were doing something to combat the pandemic — becomes medical surveillance. discrimination and coercion in vaccination: How dare you neither vaccinate nor mask? Go for a walk of shame in the school infirmary.

But what’s more, buried in Noonan’s release was a link intended to visually explain the “new normal at school.” I originally didn’t click on that link because I was too busy fuming and rolling my eyes, but my wife did, and here’s what she found:

In other words, children whose parents deign to follow what most of Europe has been doing all along, and what most countries have been doing all school year, will be physically separated from their peers. But wait, there’s more!

Shortly after the superintendent’s email, parents at K-2 Elementary School received the principal’s weekly email — nicely titled “Danny’s Corner,” after the school’s mascot, a purple hippo – who confirmed that “children without masks will be asked to stay 6 feet apart. their peers indoors whenever possible in accordance with our current mitigation strategies. These are only a few sentences before he reassures us: “We always do our best to ensure that no child feels marginalized or excluded for any reason, including what they may or may not wear”.

If you don’t believe that bald gaslight, here’s a screenshot:

Given this differential or unfavorable treatment of students without masks, the school district may already be violating federal and state civil rights and education laws — even before the state’s new anti-masking law takes effect. . Differential treatment here would include, but not be limited to, discriminatory policies on masking, testing, vaccination, virtual learning, and anything that would facilitate official or social ostracism or bullying.

What kind of sick person does that to children? Like our kindergarten son, who has a moderate articulation disorder for which he was diagnosed without lowering his masktold us last month after we explained to him that the school board had decided that he had to keep his mask on for three more weeks even if the “president of Virginia” tried to assert his rights to the contrary, “no one shouldn’t be treated any different. So said Martin Luther King. (I’m not kidding you; it’s not a sign of virtue invented on Twitter; we spoke to him and his brother about preschool, MLK, and civil rights, and imagine some of that was covered in school as well.)

This is where we are in the America of 2022. Parents and children have had enough; we will not be silenced, masked or separated.

Jerry B. Hatch