Chippewa Falls, WI

Chippewa Falls Students Urged Not to Bring Mask Politics to School

Walter Rhein
Image by Walter Rhein

In traditional America, communities used to be able to rely on parents to assist the school district with student discipline. When children got in trouble, administrators could reach out to the parents to discuss their concerns.

However, as we emerge from the 2020-2021 pandemic, school administrators have to deal with the reality that safety precautions put in place to prevent illness have become a political issue.

By all accounts, the safety measures that have been put in place to protect Chippewa Falls area students have been very effective. There have been few reported cases of Coronavirus at local schools.

The school district has been very successful at providing a beneficial educational experience without putting children at risk. Yet, as the last days of the school year approach, some parents are bristling at the requirement that students continue to wear a mask at school.

Mask mandates have proven to be an effective line of defense against the spread of Coronavirus throughout the pandemic. Unfortunately, some groups have elected to undermine these mandates in defiance of the law and reasonable medical advice.

It’s unfortunate that misguided thinking has been allowed to run rampant to the point where some are concerned that the lives of our children have been put at risk.

We’re close to the end of the school year so it doesn’t make sense to change our good practices. Not enough people are vaccinated yet, so wear your mask until the last day. The children aren’t complaining about it, so I don’t understand why we’re even talking about this—Concerned parent

An unconfirmed rumor has been going around the Chippewa Community that a “mask revolt” was planned for Friday, June 4th.

It’s unfortunate that parents would take the unconscionable step of advising their children to go against the rules of the school district.

Building a law abiding community requires consistent behaviors from authority figures. The school district has the legal authority to require that students wear masks. When parents insist that their students do not have to follow the school’s guidelines, it sets a poor precedent.

One has to wonder what other rules students might begin to perceive as “optional.”

A functional society can only be achieved through consistent messaging. Parents have a responsibility to work with the local school district to make sure that students comply with district regulations.

When parents work to intentionally sabotage the authority of the classroom, it erodes the foundation of the rule of law and is ultimately bad for the whole community.

The school district is within its right to discipline students that do not conform to district policy. A parent who encourages his or her child not to conform to district rules for the sake of a political statement is establishing the foundation for future acts of defiance and lawlessness. In the end, this behavior is extremely unfair to the student.

The system works best when every member of a society recognizes the results of popular elections and abides by decisions even when they don’t personally agree. Everyone has the opportunity to make their opinion heard, but these opinions must be expressed through the appropriate channels.

We need to get back to the type of common sense arrangement where all parents see themselves as partners with the local school district. Let’s strive to keep politics in the voting booth and out of our classrooms.

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Walter Rhein is an author with Perseid Press. He also does a weekly column for The Writing Cooperative on Medium.

Chippewa Falls, WI

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