Carrie Lukas, vice president of Independent Women’s Voice and mother of five children, spoke before the Fairfax County Public School Board on Thursday to explain why masking students is harmful and why it’s parents’ rights to opt out of Virginia’s school mask mandate.
Across Virginia, right now adults are gathering in gyms, bars, and clubs and laughing together maskless. Yet my 5 kids just spent 8 hours in masks in Fairfax County Public Schools. My 1st grader has never been inside school without a mask. That he’s never had the chance to smile at his friends and hear his teacher’s unmuffled voice is as outrageous as it is ridiculous.
Today, we know that the risks of omicron for children are minimal. Public health officials know that masks that you require do not work against this variant and have called them useless facial decorations.
Of course, parents have different assessments of the relative risks of viruses versus the mental and emotional harm of masking kids 8 hours each day.
Governor Youngkin respects that. He respects parents’ right to make choices for their children. He gave parents like me the right to opt out of your mask mandate.
Why then, when I went to my friendly local elementary school to exercise that right, did some poor, kind woman have to tell me my kids were suspended? I know she didn’t want to do that. I know that most teachers know this is lunacy and cruel to kids. Why are you putting them in this position?
Fairfax spends about $15,000 per pupil; you’ve gotten $100 million plus in emergency federal funding and Virginia still has $3 billion in unspent School Relief Funds.
Instead of that money going to you–so you can initiate lawsuits and hire security guards and press aides to keep taxpaying citizens from seeing what’s happening in their schools–it’s time to have that money follow each child. Parents should be given control of that per pupil spending so we can find educators who respect us and so that we don’t have to come here begging to you.
This week is known as National School Choice Week, and it’s time for Virginia to give parents like me the ability to leave this school system which very clearly doesn’t want us anyway.