This story out of Los Angeles is astonishing. A mother in the district is saying that her son unexpectedly came home from school with a COVID vaccine card -- and when she inquired about it, he said that he was basically bribed with pizza, and encouraged not to tell his parents about it. I'd call this 'too bad to check,' but watch the clip from a local NBC affiliate, then read on:
KNBC: Parents accuse Los Angeles’ Barack Obama Global Preparation Academy of vaccinating their children without their consent pic.twitter.com/8S8Qct41id— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) December 8, 2021
Maribel Duarte says her 13-year-old son, a student at the Barack Obama Global Prep Academy in South LA, brought home a vaccine card after having accepted the COVID-19 vaccine at school. She says he said yes when someone offered it in exchange for pizza. "The lady that gave him the shot and signed the paper told my son, 'Please don't say anything. I don't want to get in trouble.'" The LAUSD says student matters are confidential and wouldn't comment specifically, but did say its "safe schools to safe steps incentive program" is meant to ensure several steps are in place for vaccinated students to receive prizes. Duarte says she's not against the vaccine. She's vaccinated herself, but it's different with her son. "He has problems with asthma and allergy problems," she said.
This mother isn't an anti-vaxxer, as the story notes. She's vaccinated herself, but is concerned about some of her son's underlying conditions. How many other students have been given the jab at school without their parents' consent, or even knowledge? What if some of those students have already recovered from COVID and don't need a shot -- or what if there's some unique health condition that might draw concern from a family doctor? It's insane that school officials would start sticking needles in arms without any other information. It may well be illegal, and I would be shocked if there weren't a lawsuit that arose from this situation. My initial instinct was to approach this story with heavy skepticism, but the LAUSD's official response leads me to believe that this wasn't some misunderstanding or miscommunication. They pointedly declined to deny Duarte's allegations, calling the matter "confidential" (so confidential that it was hidden from the minor's parents?) and broadly affirming that they have a program to reward vaccinated students with prizes. Bear in mind that this school district -- home to a far-Left teacher's union that has pushed defunding the police and flirted with a resolution condemning Israel -- gravely harmed students by stubbornly shuttering its schools for more than a year, and required frequent mass testing as the price of admission for students this fall.
Students aged 12 and up in the district must be vaccinated by early January, or else they could "be forced back into virtual, online learning." I am a strong advocate for vaccination, but kids are a different story. Parents and legal guardians must be part of the decision-making process, and children are already at an extremely low risk of severe outcomes from COVID. Some foreign countries are now recommending against vaccinating most kids against this virus, and some widely-discussed medical concerns have arisen over about some (potential, rare and reversible) side effects among boys and young men in particular. In other words, vaccinating children against COVID should not be a one-size-fits-all proposition, and it's unconscionable that any government bureaucracy would try to cut parents out of the equation in any circumstances. It's outrageous and arrogant -- and perhaps not terribly surprising, considering who is allegedly responsible here. Meanwhile, it looks like the politics of COVID vaccine mandates have shifted under Democrats' feet. Here's an excerpt from a Politico story headlined, "Dems begin souring on vaccine mandates:"
Moderate and frontline members of the party are singing a different tune. In recent comments, several high-profile Democrats have stated their opposition to vaccine mandates, specifically applied to private businesses. The most recent Democratic lawmaker to voice her concern was Michigan Gov. GRETCHEN WHITMER. Once considered to be Biden’s vice president, Whitmer said she opposes mandates, citing the impact on the state’s workforce — as Michigan grapples with upticks in cases and residents are split on whether or not to get the vaccine...Whitmer isn’t the only Democrat now sounding these notes. Sen. JOE MANCHIN (D-W.Va.) has said he does not support requiring businesses with over 100 employees to ensure that their workforces are vaccinated from Covid-19. Sen. JON TESTER (D-Mont.) has thrown a bit of shade on it too. Gov. PHIL MURPHY (D-.N.J.), shortly before an unexpectedly close re-election win, shied away from embracing a strict vaccine mandate for teachers and other public workers. Gov. KATHY HOCHUL (D-N.Y.), who is running for election after taking over for disgraced former Gov. ANDREW CUOMO (D-N.Y.), has stated her opposition to a “broad-based mandate for all private-sector workers in New York.” The souring of some Democrats on the mandate comes as the courts strike legal blow after legal blow against a series of vaccine mandates President JOE BIDEN unveiled in September, and it’s prompting concerns in the party that they’re ending up with the worst of all worlds: a blunt policy that won’t go into effect but that will saddle them politically.
Schools Are Closing Classrooms on Fridays. Parents Are Furious. - The New York Times https://t.co/M5Fh9vxcYF— Blake Hounshell (@blakehounshell) December 8, 2021
Caitlin Reynolds, a single mother, was happy that her son, L.J., was finally settled into fourth grade after a rocky experience last year with remote learning. Then, on Wednesday, Nov. 17, an announcement: Detroit public schools would close their classrooms every Friday in December. There would be virtual school only. On Friday, a follow-up announcement: School was also canceled starting that Monday, for the entire week of Thanksgiving. This time, there would be no online option. “You need to take the kids back out again?” Ms. Reynolds said. “How is that not going to be harmful to these students?” After a few months of relative calm, some public schools are going remote — or canceling classes entirely — for a day a week, or even for a couple of weeks, because of teacher burnout or staff shortages.
At least six other school districts in Michigan extended Thanksgiving break, and three districts in Washington State, including Seattle Public Schools, unexpectedly closed on Nov. 12, the day after Veterans Day. In one instance, Brevard Public Schools in Florida used leftover “hurricane days” to close schools for the entire week of Thanksgiving...A few of these districts have closed with very little notice, sending parents scrambling to find child care, as well as summon the wherewithal to supervise remote learning. Beyond the logistics, many parents are worried that with additional lost days of in-person school, their children will fall further behind. School districts cited various reasons for the temporary closings, from a rise in Covid-19 cases to a need to thoroughly sanitize classrooms. But for many schools, the remote learning days — an option that did not exist before the pandemic — are a last-ditch effort to keep teachers from resigning. They are burned out, educators said, after a year of trying to help students through learning loss, and working overtime to make up for labor shortages.
Battles in the classroom — from mask mandates to debates over critical race theory — have also taken a toll, said Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, the country’s second-biggest teachers’ union. “What you hear from teachers is that it’s been too much,” she said. “And they’re trying the best that they can.” These temporary closures, though, may only hamper relationships with parents at a moment when tensions in many districts are already high.
Teachers get far more days off than most American workers, many of whom cannot easily absorb and adjust to sudden days of for their children. Many teachers worked remote for more than a year, while essential workers showed up for work, day in and day out, throughout the whole pandemic. "Burnout" is an insulting excuse to deprive kids of even more in-person learning -- and Randi Weingarten blaming concerned parents for it is just icing on the cake. Maybe Democrats, who got hammered for school closures in the recent Virginia elections, need to get crushed in another cycle before they wake up to what their union allies have wrought.