It’s back to this: We’re debating mask mandates for children in public schools.
This isn’t just a local thing. In Williamson County, Tennessee, a school board meeting in the Nashville suburb turned into a heated fracas after the board approved a mask requirement in elementary schools on Tuesday night, according to CNN.
On Thursday, President Joe Biden led off his speech about prescription drug prices by lending support to the pro-mask-mandate side, calling them “heroes.”
“To mayors, school superintendents, educators, local leaders who are standing up to the governor’s politicizing mask protection for our kids, thank you,” Biden said. “Thank you as well. Thank god that we have heroes like you — and I stand with you all, and America should as well.”
President Biden: “To the mayors, school superintendents, educators, local leaders who are standing up to the governors politicizing mask protection for our kids — thank you. Thank God that we have heroes like you. I stand with you all, and America should as well.” pic.twitter.com/FkkWlOD9Ey
— CBS News (@CBSNews) August 12, 2021
A Tuesday school board meeting in Nashville proper was more peaceable than the one in Williamson County, but it ended in the same result.
According to the Nashville Scene, a local alternative publication, there was no movement on the board’s mask mandate for students, which was passed by an 8-1 vote on Aug. 5 as a response to the emergence of the delta variant.
As the Scene noted, “Among those who showed up to complain about the mask mandate was Matt Walsh, who reports for right-wing site The Daily Wire (which recently relocated to Nashville).”
You can perhaps guess at the Scene’s editorial slant by that sentence alone, but indeed Walsh did complain — and he made a compelling case that the mask mandates are “abusive” and akin “to a parent who forced his kid to wear a football helmet every day, all day, for fear of falling coconuts and meteors.”
“You on the school board have decided that our kids should go to school all day, every day, wearing muzzles like rabid dogs,” Walsh said.
Addressing the arguments made by the pro-mask side, Walsh said he’d “noticed that they’re missing a few things: namely evidence, data, science, common sense and basic human decency.”
Walsh noted that “COVID poses almost no risk to our kids at all.”
According to the Daily Wire pundit, “4.2 million children have tested positive for COVID. A total of 0.008 percent of them have died. Overall, 0.0004 percent of the child population in this country … has died of COVID.”
Through Wednesday, CDC data showed 354 individuals ages 0-17 as having died of COVID-19.
This means, Walsh said, your bathroom is far more dangerous to your child than any variant of SARS-CoV-2.
“Twice as many [children] have died by drowning each year,” he said. “A bathtub poses more risk to your child than COVID.”
“Your child is far more likely to die in the car on the way to school than he is to die from COVID at school,” Walsh said. “What about the flu? the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] estimates that 480 kids died from the flu in the 2018-2019 season. That’s more than have died from COVID in a year and a half.
“Now, did anyone on this board suggest at any point that year that kids wear masks? Did anyone in this room suggest that at any point anyone wear masks for flu — which, again, is more dangerous to kids than COVID?”
Walsh blamed both parents and the board for engaging in a form of Munchausen syndrome by proxy, in which a caregiver makes up an illness or injury for the person in their care in order to seek attention through treating it.
“If you think I’m exaggerating, then how would you respond to a parent who forced his kid to wear a football helmet every day, all day, for fear of falling coconuts and meteors?” he said.
“Your kid is almost as likely to die of COVID as he is from a rock from the sky, and yet if you saw that, you would say to that parent that he is abusive, that he is forcing his kid to participate in this utterly insane charade in order to satisfy his delusional psychotic hypochondria.”
And meanwhile, on the other side, we have the president thanking God “we have heroes” like the educators who’ll impose these mask mandates. Somehow, I think if the deity is taking sides on this one, he’s not with the president.
This is especially true given that the Metro Nashville Public Schools won’t be considering religious exemptions to the mask mandate, according to the Nashville Tennesseean.
Furthermore, the Tennesseean reported that those “who violate the district’s protocols could face discipline including a student-teacher conference for the first offense; a parent-teacher conference and even a collaborative referral for a second offense; and suspension or expulsion as outlined by the district’s student handbook upon further incidents.”
Expulsion over refusal to wear a mask (or intentionally coughing or sneezing on someone, another offense that carries the penalty) would be dependent on age, the student’s prior history and “the student’s willingness to repair the harm, the harm caused, the extent of actual disruption to the learning environment and whether the act was intentional.”
The student handbook maintains “expulsion is a measure of last resort.”
Some heroes, these: If a student refuses to keep a muzzle on all day to prevent being infected by a disease that has claimed the lives of only 354 children, he’ll only get expelled if all else fails.
Give them a standing slow clap, ladies and gentlemen.
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