OPINION STORY WRITTEN BY PETE COLAN
MISHAWAKA, Ind — Congratulations, Penn Harris Madison. You finally listened to the parents and allowed for common sense to sink in. And you’re probably congratulating yourselves for “saving” the children from Covid until it was safe to lift the restrictions. While Thursday marks the first mask-optional day for children at PHM, I do not applaud you. Instead, you should be ashamed for what you did, as will be evident below.
Baugo Community Schools was way ahead of you. On August 25, 2021, an emergency Board meeting was held to debate the issue. Present were nurses, EMT’s, parents and people of the community interested in the welfare of the children and not the perpetuation of false “science”. Eighteen people spoke passionately about the prior year’s negative health effects on their children from mask-wearing, including headaches, inability to concentrate, etc. An EMT spoke of there being no difference in the number of kids he was carrying to the hospital. In fact, during the “pandemic,” there were fewer. Other parents spoke emotionally about the serious emotional impact on their children from not being able to see the faces of others and the emotional devastation from not experiencing the closeness of friendships that masks and “social distancing” caused.
I spoke about the complete lack of any valid data or studies that show masks make any difference whatsoever in being able to stop an aerosolized virus that is 1,000 times smaller than the weave of a cloth mask. I demonstrated there was zero data that showed during 2020 no country, state or region with strict mask mandates fared any better than non-masked countries, states or regions. On the other hand, I also showed data that DOES show that healthy children are at statistically zero risk of serious illness or death from covid, unlike all the other infectious childhood diseases that never warranted this much precaution.
Validating the parent’s concerns for their children, I pointed out that there were hundreds of studies available before the school year began that confirm prolonged mask wearing prohibits proper oxygenation of the blood resulting in headaches, inability to concentrate and other health problems. Masks are also breeding grounds for infections from bacteria, mold and fungi, increasing the risk of pneumonia and other life-threatening diseases that take a far higher toll in child death rates.
We, as adults, are supposed to ease children’s fears; to reassure them that monsters aren’t hiding under the bed. Instead, we’re frightening them into believing they’re being stalked by invisible menaces lurking in the air. The long-term impact of teaching our children to live in fear of something they cannot understand will not be known for many years, but we see that evidence now with people driving alone in their cars wearing masks, walking alone outdoors wearing a mask, and small children wearing masks to comfort them instead of clutching a doll or a blanket, while their parents do not wear masks.
Lastly, by hiding teachers’ lips and muffling their speech, mask-wearing makes it harder for young children to develop linguistic skills and prevents children with hearing impairments from lip reading. Unable to rely on facial cues, teachers and students of all ages are more likely to misinterpret one other, a particularly acute problem for children on the autism spectrum. How are children supposed to develop social skills when they can’t see one another’s faces, sit together, or play together?
Nelson Mandela once said, “There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.” America’s soul is rooted in individual liberty and freedom. Giving those up to satisfy the whim of bureaucrats and self-proclaimed “experts” who have an opinion that mask wearing by children only in school (but nowhere else) without any logic, facts or data to back it up, makes a school board the equivalent of an abusive parent. The pandemic has turned American adults, or at least the ones who make the rules, into selfish neurotics who have been punishing innocent children for more than a year—and still can’t restrain themselves.
The Baugo School Board wisely voted down the proposal for mandatory mask-wearing and the kids at Baugo had a very normal school year.
Unfortunately, on the other hand, I had to attend a Discovery Middle School choir performance and tried to enjoy the singing of my granddaughter wearing a mask on stage, unable to see her face and her lips as she sang the words. As for the children, they also could not see the smiles and appreciation from the audience.
This should never be allowed to happen again. I pray those of you on the school board who voted for mask wearing will be replaced, and I encourage those in the audience of RNM who live in the Penn School District (and, while we’re at it, Elkhart Community and other districts that forced faced diapers on our kids) will consider running for School Board.