4J hears from public on mask policy8 min read
The Eugene School Board heard from the public last week about the district’s masking policy.
[00:00:06] Matthew McNatt: My name is Matthew McNatt. I’m a local movement-based educator, co-founder of a worker cooperative, the proud husband of my intelligent, kind, and beautiful wife, and proud parents of three wonderful children, the eldest of two who, like my wife, are hard of hearing.
Outside the argument of whether masks reduce the transmission of the contagion of SARS-CoV-2, I want to call your attention to another contagion, which compulsory masking immeasurably and inevitably worsens. Masks worsen what the anthropologist René Girard called “mimetic contagion.” The more that schools teach masking-up shows that you care, the more they imply not masking-up shows that you don’t care. If someone gets COVID 19, compulsory masking makes it easy to identify the scapegoat, whoever hasn’t been wearing a mask.
According to the ODE’s own guidelines, face shields are an acceptable alternative when people need to see the student’s mouth and tongue motions in order to communicate. But each of my children doesn’t need to see his or her own mouth movements or tongue movements. They need to see their teacher’s mouth and tongue movements and to be fully included, they need to see the mouth and tongue movements of their friends. Last year my children’s need for for a free and appropriate public education were not met.
When other children returned to school, mine endured separate and unequal remote instruction. And even with appropriately written 504 plans, I don’t hold out much hope for something better this year, because these mask mandates make the full inclusion of my children and children like mine functionally impossible in a regular school because no child or teacher should have to choose between including children like mine or keeping medically fragile families safe. Regrettably, online instruction isn’t much better because not every child has a dark background and appropriate lighting to facilitate lip reading.
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What I ask here tonight is that you allow district funds to go to currently or formerly certified teachers like myself, even one certified in alternative approaches like Montessori or Waldorf, who would be happy to get a group of children together who need to learn unmasked so that we can learn together while accepting one another without being scorned and without scorning others. We’re exhausted from choosing between being excluded or being vilified. We want to choose neither.
Instead of continuing to deprive children like mine of a free and appropriate public education, please create a way to fund small, inclusive, community-based learning pools. Grant them the same percentage of funds per child that right now are granted to charter schools. Thank you.
[00:02:33] Katie Reese: I refuse to beg for my rights or the rights of my child like a second-class citizen. I’m here tonight to take a stand against tyranny, to show you other parents and my child what bravery and patriotism look like. If I can encourage one parent to stand up for their children or one child to advocate for themselves, I will have done what I came to do and I will continue to do so.
Our beautiful children are being coerced into a future where they have no rights. They’re being taught that their bodies are not their own, and that consent is conditional. They are being brainwashed to not question authority, use their intuition or critical thinking skills. Parents are being led to believe that our rights end at the classroom door, which could not be farther from the truth. You work for us. Teachers work for us. Oregon Department of Education works for us. It’s time to work together. Many families have given up on our public school system and are exploring alternative education.
Other parents like myself are forced to choose between our livelihoods or the systemic abuse of our children. We are being stripped of our rights, our choices, and our freedom. The lions are waking up. You’ve come for our children and we will stop at nothing to protect them. We will fight to unseat every board member in every district who fails to uphold the constitution and puts our babies in harm’s way.
We will fight against mandates that strip us of our parental rights. And most importantly, we will fight for the rights of all children and all families. And I would like to say that ma’am? The children are not well. Okay? God bless.
[00:04:02] Doris Schaefer: My name is Doris Schaefer. I’m a taxpayer and a parent of two children in the 4J school district. I have four jobs, right now. My most important job that I hold dear to me is to be a mother. Okay. It’s my job to teach them about their spirituality and God and the Bible. That’s my job. My job is to teach them a great foundation in reading, writing, math, arithmetic. I’ve done that. I have honors students and that’s my job. My job is to make sure that every day they work to the best of their ability. And in light of homeschooling and how easy it is, that is my job is to make sure that they work for the best with the talents God gave them. It’s my job to ensure their emotional wellbeing is there. It’s my job to talk to them, to teach them how to communicate and advocate and learn when things are not okay with them, that they talk to people. That’s my job. I have a child who has extreme anxiety and it’s my job to teach her how to navigate a world who doesn’t understand her. Okay. It’s also my job to make sure that my children are healthy. So I gave you paperwork that talks about how masks are appropriate. It talks about how these are not appropriate. They don’t stop any viral transmission of nanoparticles. Okay. These talked about the psychological and physiological things that are happening to our children.
[00:05:18] Jason Kane: I live in the 4J school district. I have a young child who will not be attending your schools as long as there is a mask mandate. There is no scientific evidence that children in a classroom setting contribute to community spread. Studies indicate that masking children delays speech and emotional development and contributes to poor mental health. According to the Oregon health authority data, the COVID mortality rate of people under age 18 is literally 0.0%. To recap, there is no evidence kids spread the virus to others and it is extremely rare that they get sick more than common cold, or flu. So the question for the school board: What are you doing to positively support the children in this community?
[00:06:01] Michelle Province: My name is Michelle Province. Adolescent suicide has spiked by 334% since the beginning of this. This chronic mask dependence only supports the dehumanization compliance ritual for the express purpose of community segregation, us and them. There is no scientific evidence supporting mask effectiveness. There is an overwhelming confirmable evidence to the contrary, which is easily researchable by anyone. Breath is vital for life.
[00:06:32] Anne Mannering: My name is Anne Mannering and I’m a parent of a second grader who attends a 4J school that we love. My comments pertain to the district’s response to the rising rates of Delta infections. First, without state metrics to guide decisions about school closures, what criteria will the districts use to protect students, teachers, and staff should schools experience an outbreak? What is the threshold for returning to remote learning? The district is planning to adopt Oregon Department of Education’s 10-day drop policy. If so, what assurances do parents have that their children will not be dropped from their school if they contract COVID and must be out of school for an unknown period of time?
[00:07:15] Walter Black: Hello. My name is Walter Black. I’m a junior at North Eugene High School. I’m here to speak out against the masking of our athletes. Since freshman year, I’ve played three sports each year—soccer, wrestling, and track. This last spring, I did each of these sports in a mask and would never do it again. When wearing a mask athletes have to work harder to get the necessary oxygen. They need to function when their bodies aren’t able to get the oxygen they need. And anaerobic respiration starts to happen. This causes lactic acid to form and creates cramps in muscles, lightheadedness, and potentially can cause someone to pass out, as we saw this spring with Savannah Lay in Crook County. Because of these risks, the World Health Organization has advised not to mask children while playing sports, or running, jumping, playing on the playground so that it does not compromise their breathing.
In Oregon we have restrictions in place against masking outdoors. And I ask the board to uphold this and extend it to indoor sports, which are just as intense, hot, and potentially dangerous to wear masks in, as outdoor sports.
[00:08:28] Kelly Kane: My name is Kelly Kane and I’m a member of Smiles In Schools, and we were organizing to make masks optional before Governor Brown said otherwise with her one-woman rule. Smiles In Schools has now expanded to try and help families. We no longer feel the Oregon schools are conducive places for their children to learn and grow.
Have you read the scientific literature on the harms of masking? I am sick of being told by our government, by our public health officials and by our elected representatives, that masks work and that wearing them is a minor inconvenience.
Our children need connection and community school is supposed to be a safe haven for our children. Yet somehow their needs continue to be pushed aside. The majority in the middle is rising up to take back control of our lives. We are tired of division. We are tired of mandates and measures that don’t make sense. We are tired of the constant fear-mongering. And if you’re tired of the continually escalating piratical overreach of our government, if you were watching or listening today and you feel in your heart, that something isn’t right with what is going on, come talk to us. If you are done with the government lies and the harmful safety measures, speak out. If you value bodily autonomy and the right to make your own medical decisions for yourself and your family, join us.
[00:09:35] John Q: The first day of school is Sept. 9.
Mask photos courtesy Kelly Sikkema and Jasmin Chew on Unsplash.