Sunday, September 26, 2021

Mask mandates the real tragedy

| August 18, 2021 1:00 AM

The Whitefish School Board decision on Thursday night to mandate masks at Muldown Elementary and Whitefish Middle School is a tragedy.

Mothers and fathers know best. We did not elect our trustees to thwart our parenting roles, or worse, replace them. The school district issued a survey on the question of mask mandates, whereby 832 participants responded. Despite over 65% of responses selecting an optional or recommended mask policy within our schools, trustees took it upon themselves to act as the parents of our children. What a shame. Further, how illogical is it to mandate a mask policy on the segment of the population that’s least vulnerable to contracting (or transmitting), yet most vulnerable to the social, emotional, and physical consequences of strapping a rag to their face for seven hours a day. Statistics reflect the negative impacts.

We understand some individuals may be more susceptible to contracting Covid – we should be conscious of this and make accommodations. We’ve rightfully done so, but Thursday’s decision was wrongfully concocted. How ridiculous is the idea that we mandate fifth and sixth graders, yet only recommend it for seventh and eighth graders, despite the fact they share a roof? It’s as preposterous, as is the entire premise.

For the first time in 40 academic years within our immediate family, our children will not be attending Whitefish School District schools in the upcoming academic year. The education and socialization of our children are too important to be left in the hands of bureaucrats that think their role trumps that of parents.

What fortunately does remain optional is enrolling our children in other schools. I encourage those 65% of parents that reflected their preference in the survey to exercise that option. Perhaps a decline in enrollment will speak more loudly.

Our votes beginning next May certainly will.

Marcus and Audrey Duffey, Whitefish