Today kicked off a lawsuit aimed at SAU16, and their mask mandates that would require masks on all children if the number of cases of COVID 19 rise to a certain level. Several parents in the district filed suit, arguing that the decision to mask a child should be left up to parents.
It should also be noted that none of these parents want to do away with masks, they simply want the decision to be theirs.
Parents who want their children masked would certainly have the ability to send their kids to school in a mask if these parents were to win. Many of the parents today commented on how they support parents who want their children masked. For them, this isn’t about dictating what other parents should do, it’s about making sure that they get to do what’s best for their children too.
The plaintiff’s attorney presented arguments in favor of parents making this decision for their children. For instance, there is a restraining law in New Hampshire, and this could violate forcing children to wear a restraint. Another argument was how the school board does not have the authority to make this decision because school boards are granted their authority by state and federal laws. There has been no law passed mandating masks in public schools.
The defense brought up countering arguments, which made me wonder if students will ever get out of masks if the plaintiffs lose? The defense attorney made the argument that if this mask mandate saves just one life, it’s worth it. He also brought up how students with medical risks need this kind of protection. But what about pre-COVID, what did those children do before the pandemic?
Since I have a situation in my home with an immune-compromised person, I know what it’s like to face these situations. For our family, we consulted doctors. We didn’t consult social media warriors, parents who think they know what’s best for all children, and we certainly didn’t call up our local school board members for advice. That means we have to contemplate vaccines, masks, and even if we should attend highly populated events.
So I get this dilemma, but we’ve been dealing with this for a decade. Not once did we ever get on a plane, and require everyone to wear a mask. We wore masks if we felt the need. There was a time when the person in our home didn’t leave the house for 6 weeks after surgery. Their immunity was at a very low level, and catching anything was a big risk. It was the doctor who gave us advice on how to handle that situation.
I do not take this virus lightly, and I do not take the needs of those students lightly either. But pre-COVID, we had to look at these situations the same way during cold and flu season. We do what’s best for our family, and respected those who have a different situation.
As a parental right advocate, I hear from parents who have special needs children. Their children cannot handle the mask, and it’s extremely difficult for parents to force a child to wear one. It becomes a battle that none of us will understand unless we walk in their shoes.
RSV and other viruses wreak havoc on children, and hospitals are filling up with children who have RSV right now. If COVID was gone tomorrow, no one seems to care about the impact of RSV on young children.
This takes me back to my original point, will this mean that kids may never get out of masks in school? The district has argued that they must protect the children inside the school. No children have died from COVID 19 in New Hampshire, but they’ve died from other viruses. Will this mean that parents will now be able to force the school to keep masks on students going forward? How can they avoid it, they’ve decided that their role is to protect every child. Isn’t that their responsibility going forward? They are setting the precedent right now. They are saying that it is their responsibility to protect every child from a virus that is less deadly than some of the other childhood diseases out there.
It’s something to consider.