Parents Are Fighting — Literally — Over School Mask Mandates

by Elizabeth Broadbent
Originally Published: 
CBS Sacramento/Youtube

The anti-science, pro-Trump masses aren’t exactly known for their propensity towards peaceful protest (see: January 6th, the United State Capitol Building, filed under “treasonous armed insurrection“). So we shouldn’t be shocked that on the first day at Sutter Creek Elementary School in California, a father opposed to Amador County Unified School District’s mask mandate went full on 1998 Jerry Springer. When his itsy-bitsy disease vector walked out of school wearing a mask, he began “verbally assaulting” principal Tia Peters. A male teacher stepped in to defend her.

That teacher ended his first school day hospitalized with “lacerations on his face, some bruising on his a face and a pretty good knot on the back of his head,” school superintendent Torie Gibson told NBC News. No word on the now-banned-from-campus anti-mask crusader, but hopefully his game of “Mortal Kombat: Elementary School” ended with some significant bruising.

Did we seriously expect the anti-mask crowd to shut the fuck up and sit the fuck down? A Franklin County, Tennessee school board meeting that ended in a district-wide mask mandate led to a three-ring circus of conservatives chanting, “We will not comply,” and one man yelling, “We know who you are! You’ll never be allowed in public again!” Someone with a Batman complex reportedly shouted to a crowd of masked people, “You can leave freely, but we will find you!”

Leigh-Allyn Baker, star of the Disney Channel’s “Good Luck Charlie” added some celebrity clout to the anti-science crowd with a sketchy-ass proclamation that her kids, who have a medical exemption for vaccination, shouldn’t be masked. “Anyway, the real part of the clown show is that you all think that you actually have the authority to mandate this,” she said. “Because there are these books that I have, and I have them as a gift for you: the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights and the Federalist Papers. Also, the Bible. And these guarantee my freedom and yours and our children’s to breathe oxygen.”

Except: only the Bible is a book; the Bill of Rights is part of the Constitution, not a separate document; and neither God nor the United States government guarantees a fundamental right to oxygen. Author of fifty-one of the Federalist Papers, Alexander Hamilton, will hopefully commence haunting her ass, partly for never reading the Federalist Papers in the first place. Allegedly, Jesus hopes she did better with the Bible.

Kids Are Getting Sicker

As Republicans tantrum about any mask mandate whatsoever, children are showing more symptoms from the Delta variant, which is ravaging America’ unvaccinated in numbers we haven’t seen since January. That was pre-vaccine, so the proportion of people vulnerable to infection has literally halved since then, with a full 49% of Americans — and 70% of adults — fully vaxxed. Someone on Fox News will eventually realize this anti-mask bullshit is simply killing off their base, but until then, it’s also menacing kids. Pediatric ICUs are full in parts of the South: both Columbia and Charleston South Carolina’s PICUs are reportedly at peak capacity. Translation: South Carolina is nearly out of pediatric ICU beds. NBC News reports that, “Bed shortages and overworked doctors and nurses in children’s hospitals are becoming commonplace.”

This reporting is not from Mother Jones. It’s not from a left-wing rag pandering to liberal sensibilities. It comes from fucking NBC News. Dr. Kelechi Iheagwara, medical director of the pediatric intensive care unit at the Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, said of the kids under her care, “They’re air hungry, struggling for breath, and it’s just scary… You have the illness, the fear, they can’t breathe, they’re isolated — that’s hard for anyone to understand, but can you imagine what it’s like for a kid?”

Linda Young, a respiratory therapist at Arkansas Children’s Hospital for 37 years, told The Washington Post that “these latest children with covid appear to be progressing to respiratory distress much faster and in less predictable patterns.” She said she’s “never seen anything like this,” even as healthy children are hospitalized.

Without a mask mandate, it’ll only get worse. Despite science, logic, human decency, and civic responsibility, not to mention significant danger to their children, these slavering masses still won’t put a mask on it.

Standoffs Are Commonplace

Assault on a school official: it was only a matter of time with rabid anti-maskers politicizing basic public health measures. Columbia, South Carolina mayor Steve Benjamin has enacted a mask mandate for all middle schools, elementary schools, and daycares within city limits; South Carolina governor and noted Foghorn Leghorn impersonator Henry McMaster has banned mask mandates statewide. They’re currently locked in a legal battle to determine if science or bullshit wins the day.

Florida’s governor Ron DeSantis, who has lost more residents to Covid than his electoral margin of victory, was shouting that schools with a mask mandate will have their administrators’ salaries withheld. But when left-leaning Alachua and Broward counties told him to fuck right off, the emperor suddenly had no clothes: DeSantis was forced to admit that the governor’s office had no control over school officials’ salaries. Instead, his spokesperson suggested that the Florida State Board of Education could maybe possibly hopefully impose those penalties.

Meanwhile, two of the biggest school districts in Texas, Dallas Independent School District and Austin Independent School District, are refusing to comply with cut-rate cowboy governor Greg Abbott’s ban on mask mandates. Dallas Superintendent Michael Hinojosa called a mask mandate “significantly more urgent” due to the Delta variant; Stephanie Elizalde, Austin school superintendent, said in a school board meeting that, “I am responsible for the safety, health and welfare of each and every one of our students and our staff… If I err, I must err on the side of ensuring that we’ve been overly cautious, not that we have fallen short.”

While we didn’t expect such sanity to leak out of wannabe Republic of Texas, these people are from some of the few left-leaning parts of the state. Austin’s practically a bargain bin San Francisco. Judges have temporarily blocked Abbott’s order in a move sure to have conservative howling about stacked courts.

Why Are We Fighting About Mask Mandates?

That California parent swinging at a teacher is simply emblematic of America’s mask mandate battle. Kids need to be safe, especially with only 29% of 12-15 year-olds vaccinated. One simple, easy solution: put a mask on it. But somehow, masks are verboten for red-or-dead Trump conservatives, who see them as a political wedge issue.

Why are we arguing about basic public health measures when the Delta variant is showing all signs of being more contagious and dangerous to our children than Covid 1.0? We stand to save children’s lives with simple mask mandates in schools. Aren’t conservatives always screaming about saving children? This is only one more facet of the Republican get ’em born and fuck ’em over stance. Abortions are evil. But so is a mask mandate that saves children! Their opposition is only one more example of conservative cognitive dissonance.

Without mask mandates in schools, children will sicken. Children will die. Arkansas Children’s Hospital, as of August 13th, had ten children sickened with the “hyper-contagious” Delta variant in intensive care. Five were on ventilators. Three were on last-resort heart-and-lung bypass machines.

Isn’t a piece of cloth worth their lives?

Apparently, many Americans don’t think so.

This article was originally published on