By Richard Sullins | firstname.lastname@example.org
Children and teachers in Lee County public schools will continue to wear masks on campus at least through the middle of November, following a vote at the local Board of Education’s October 12 meeting.
After a motion by member Sherry Lynn Womack to make masks optional failed, the board voted 5-2 to continue requiring the masking of all students, faculty, staff, and visitors at the county’s schools in response to the Delta variant of the coronavirus.
A new state law requires local boards of education to vote at least once each month on whether to continue requiring face coverings in public schools, and seven members of the Lee County Board of Education have consistently voted the same way since the beginning of August. Members Sandra Bowen (R), Christine Hilliard (D), Pat McCracken (D), Patrick Kelly (D), and Dr. Lynn Smith (D) have voted in favor of continuing the mask mandate at each meeting, with members Womack (R) and Pam Sutton (R) voting against.
Seven members of the public addressed the board as it once again took up the topic. Carrie Sloan, who has two children at Lee County High School, appeared agitated when she said “last week, parents of this country were told that if we voiced our concerns at school board meetings, we stood a chance of being prosecuted as domestic terrorists.”
As she read from her prepared text, she claimed that parents across the country were being threatened into silence by local boards of education and that mask mandates, such as the one imposed by Lee County Schools, violated the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment.
“Our children are not your political playground,” she said. “And you should all be arrested for child abuse for embracing this irrational and unscientific mandate. You are impeding on our children’s liberties by forcing them to wear masks.”
Sloan apparently referred to a memo sent by U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland to FBI Director Christopher Wray and U.S. Attorneys on October 4, asking them to organize a task force and convene meetings within the next 30 days to discuss “threats against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff.”
Garland’s memo, however, contains no prohibitions against parents speaking out at school board meetings or any directives to label those who do as domestic terrorists. This rumor apparently has its origins in a September 29 letter from the National School Board Association to President Joe Biden that cited an increase in threats against school personnel that “could be the equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes.”
Republican Lee County Commissioner Bill Carver read portions of Garland’s memo aloud during the public comments section of the meeting and said “I am amazed that [the Department of] Justice is rallying such an organized and powerful agency targeting parents when it has essentially ignored the civil unrest of the last 12 months, that have resulted in riots, arson, injury, and death to major cities throughout the US.”
“As far as Lee County is concerned,” Carver continued, “I am troubled about the chilling effect Justice Department action will have on citizens who want to appropriately communicate their issues to the Board of Education, principals, and teachers.”
Carver said he’s concerned that the Attorney General’s memo may keep some people from speaking their opinions in the future and urged the board to take action to allay any fears that parents might have.
Susan Laudate, however, a grandmother and retired educator, commended the Board for having the courage to keep the mask mandate in place.
“I have seen, through my grandchildren, the effectiveness of the universal mask mandate,” she said. “Both of my grandchildren have experienced COVID cases in their classrooms in Lee County. However, because they were wearing their masks and because the persons infected were also wearing their masks, only the person infected had to go home. My grandchildren did not have to stay out of school for 14 days like they did last year, and that in itself is a good reason to keep this mandate in place.”
School Nurse Supervisor Mary Hawley Oates reported that there have been 9,255 cases of COVID-19 reported in Lee County since it was first observed here in March of 2020, and that number represents an increase of 886 cases during the last month. Oates said that some of the numbers have shown improvement since last month, the county is still considered to be in high community spread status. 104 people have died in Lee County since the start of the outbreak, with 21 of them occurring within the past 10 weeks.
The number of students between the ages of 12 and 17 who have received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine is now 2,013, which is up 167 from mid-September. Since August 23,999 students have been quarantined from potential exposure to the virus and another 457 students have tested positive.
Keep the masks , they protect the person beside you …
And get your shot!!!!
It’s just the right thing to do for the greater good of our country and citizens…..
Please get the shot !!!
It saves lives. Protects lives. And will allow us to move back into a “ normal “ if there is such a thing sooner then later …
Get your shot ….
It is a shame that elected officials misrepresented AG Garland’s memo to gin people up and cause more division. It is careless and reckless. School board members are doing the best they can and deserve to not be threatened. That is what the memo was about. If you are not threatening people then there is nothing to worry about. No one is trying to take anyone’s right to come speak at school board meetings. Board members deserve to not fear for their safety. Shame on those trying to pit people against each other by falsely misrepresenting the memo. Here is the memo. Read it for yourselves. https://www.justice.gov/…/justice-department-addresses…
Yes, yes, and yes. Thanks for providing the link to the article so folks can see it for themselves.
The School Board in question and others are not wanting parents to ask questions and shutting them down. To stop parents from “impeding progress” the school board decided to shut them down by calling on police to remove them. First Amendment violation. You know, the pesky Bill of Rights?
Why am I not shocked that the purpose of the memo from AG Garland is lost on the uniformed, and worse, mischaracterized by a partisan hack. This is an example of what the memo is referring to.
This has absolutely nothing to do with preventing citizens of all beliefs from expressing their views. Let’s be honest, if you can’t express your desires without resorting to threats and/or bullying, you should be investigated as a potential domestic terrorist.
This is how wikipedia describes domestic terrorism:
“Domestic terrorism or homegrown terrorism is a form of terrorism in which victims “within a country are targeted by a perpetrator with the same citizenship” as the victims. There are many definitions of terrorism, and none of them are universally accepted. The United States Department of State defined terrorism in 2003 as “premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience.”
If that doesn’t describe some of what we have witnessed in recent history, I don’t know what does.
Attend meetings, voice your opinion in a civil manner, and there won’t be any problems.
The School Board meeting was really revealing, if you think about it. Those supporting the mandate to require a mask were relying on what was effective for the students and staff in fighting COVID. Those opposed were misusing a memo to make a political argument. I’m not sure the anti- maskers made any reference to health benefits for the children and teachers.
Only N95 mask will work. The pieces of cheap cloth most kids are wearing are useless including my sons. It’s all political theater to give people a false sense of security. Not sold on giving any children the so called vaccination. If it was a true vaccine it would Prevent people from getting and spreading the wuhan virus but it doesn’t. So mandating to get it makes no sense, which the school board will put in place.
Just Saying, no vaccine is 100% effective. I will give you that these don’t prevent covid as well as say, the smallpox vaccine prevents smallpox, but it has been proven that they prevent most from becoming seriously ill, and death. Of course the cheap masks are not as effective as an N95, but they do help some. Remember that masks mostly prevent the very fine spittle that we all expel when we talk and breathe, from escaping. Sure, not all, but most.
Just saying, The vaccine does not prevent you from getting the virus. It prevents you from dying from the virus do your homework before you make a comment. You’re making yourself look like a fool as usual…..
It’s not really a vaccine. More like a flu shot. Don’t be a fool and do your homework
Apparently your the fool…….
When is the BOE going to implement mechanical measures to reduce the spread of COVID? They still are putting restrictions on students, faculty, and parents and have yet to actually do anything significant to protect anyone. Simple measures like UV Light HVAC systems, HEPA Air filters for the HVAC Systems, and UV lights for the classrooms and public spaces greatly reduces the spread of viruses and bacteria that is in the air. These simple measures would do more to protect the school community than all of the masks in the county.
Obedience masks … Look it up people. You are not helping out children by making masks mandatory. I have a middle schooler that gets punished for others simply pulling down their masks. What good comes of forcing a child to wear masks ?? Especially in kindergarten…. Getting graded on how they show sounds with their mouths with a mask on ??? Wow 😳
Study just released from Harvard. Make sure you read it and share it with your friends. The vaccines are not doing what we are being told they would do and the Unvaccinated are NOT the cause of all of our problems. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8481107/
Moderna CEO predicts the pandemic will be over in a year. 09/23/2021
Next year, there will be plenty of vaccine to go around, the Moderna CEO said. He estimated that by the middle of 2022, there would be enough vaccine doses available for the entire global population. Sufficient booster doses should be available at that time point as well. “Those who don’t get vaccinated will develop natural immunity because the Delta variant is so infectious.”