Paul's Heart

Life As A Dad, And A Survivor

Here Is To Cooler Heads

The bar for how bad human behavior can get is constantly being challenged. Just weeks ago, we were aghast to see a flight passenger duct taped to his seat (although some would have argued he should have been duct taped to the wing given the abusive behavior and danger he put the flight and passengers in).

But as Covid19 has roared back in intensity, because, well, let’s face it, people wanted it, and they got it, the “freedom” to resume life as it was before the pandemic. The numbers speak for themselves. With mitigation efforts, in spite of those opposed to the efforts, our country was able to get our case numbers down from the 200,000’s down to 11, 000. But within weeks of “relaxing” mitigation with the support of vaccinations, we are back to over 155,000 new cases per day, and that is with some states not even reporting daily. It is common sense, not just science, the mitigation efforts worked. It is just this, too many people got selfish.

For the last two years, second to the concerns for the most vulnerable, are the risks of the children. I have no problem stating, I will never accept the belief that some have, that “it does not affect children as much.” The truth is, this Delta variant is affecting way more children than the original strain. But here is the thing I can definitely not accept, that people, even some parents, that the sacrifice of a child’s life is worth not sacrificing their own personal lives. What I do not understand, as clearly someone who believes this, has never lost a child. And then, who decides what child does get to live or do, who will be worthy of the sacrifice. This is pure madness. It should not come as a surprise to a nation that does not give a shit when it comes to children being killed, such as in mass school shootings.

Stay focused Paul.

This is now going to be the third year, that my children, like millions of others, will be dealing with Covid while trying to get an education. Early in 2020, schools switched to virtual in most cases, with no prior preparation for such a mass undertaking. In my daughters case, the 2020-2021 was completely virtual. The results were actually odd, in that one daughter actually raised her grades, and the other’s grades slightly dipped. But socially was the biggest impact, the loss of face to face with their friends. So naturally, I was, and I emphasize, was encouraged that they would be starting school for the new school year in person.

Their school district has done everything right, to the best of their abilities from engineering controls, to testing controls, sanitation, and of course masking policies. Their efforts not only kept Covid19 from raging through the district, though there were usually a new case or two every day, their efforts were recognized by the CDC to be included in a retrospective study in how to get the schools to operate safely.

It looked like we were on track to get things back to normal, especially for the kids. Then this started happening.

All over the country now, as the Delta variant has resulted in a massive increase in Covid19 among children, school districts now have to decide to re-implement mitigation efforts such as face masks again. I won’t bind up this post with a discussion on masking, it is a dead horse. They work, end of story.

But a minority of parents are now coming out to school board meetings to “protest” the implementation of any mandatory face mask policy. To be clear, I support the right to protest 100%. I also stress that it be important to be respectful and factual when trying to get your point across. As a former school board candidate, I spent many opportunities in front of a podium, admonishing school board decisions I did not agree with. But what has historically been a mostly apathetically attended event, are now packed rooms, often times being relocated to accommodate size for the increased attendance, and limiting public commentary to a certain number of minutes which those who object to that, erroneously feel that this is a communistic tactic. Trust me, having sat through public commentary, some people can ramble on for a half an hour of nonsense, and not speak one word of factual content, which if you are protesting, is what you need to do to convince the board to change their minds on a topic. Now, can you imagine the horror of 200 people rambling on like that? The you would have people screaming that speeches were not limited.

Anyhow, as boards now contemplate mask mandates for their districts as needed, school board meetings are being attended in mass. Which is a good thing. There is information to be learned. Maybe, just maybe, that will help to clear up misconceptions, understand more clearly the efforts being taken. Most importantly, that decisions being made are not being made for political gain.

Instead, a minority of parents, but noticeable, are crossing the line of peaceful protest to the point that school board meetings now have to be guarded by police forces, as speakers not only hurl threats from the podium, but then also wait for school board members to exit into the parking lot to do who knows what. One thing is for certain, emotions are running hot, and any threat to a volunteer position as a school board member is (thankless and volunteer in most states), must be taken seriously.

People are losing their damn minds!

Here is the thing. I know, because I read, and I listen, to everything that is going on with the district that my children go to school in. I also follow information from the CDC as well as my personal physicians. I am fully confident in the guidance that the school board in my daughters district, are using information not only from the CDC, but from the state’s department of health, but they also are in a county that has its own health department, that all minds put together, the board will recommend and follow what the professionals and scientists recommend.

But to those who plan to attend tonight’s school board meeting, try this. Be tactful. Be respectful. Be factual. If you are just against masks, just say you are against masks and don’t want them. Don’t spew out information you know cannot be verified or reference to masks as face diapers and muzzles. We have a major health crisis like I know I have never seen in my lifetime, and anything less than facts and respect will resolve nothing. Most importantly, be smart. Do not resort to violence in the form of threat or actions.

Many want to blame all the efforts of mitigation “upsetting” and distressing the children. Quite the contrary, it is the tone and the actions of the parents doing it.

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