Public education — that’s been the focus of our series about the war on children for the last several months. So far, we’ve addressed Critical Race Theory (CRT), Transgender students, and the sexualizing of our children. We turn next to school mandates.
Public School Mandates
Mandates for public schools are nothing new. Compulsory school attendance has been mandated in the United States for decades. States have laws that require students to attend school beginning at the age of 5, 6 or 7 years of age. States differ on the end of the compulsory age, but it’s usually 16, 17 or 18 years of age. Compulsory school attendance also includes the number of instruction hours and days per year. Students and parents who don’t comply with compulsory school attendance face legal problems from the state. Most parents seem to be accepting of compulsory school attendance.
Every state and the District of Columbia (DC) have had vaccine requirements to attend public schools for decades. Mandated smallpox vaccinations for school children date back to the 19th century. Some of the current mandated school vaccinations are for diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio and chickenpox. Most states and DC also require vaccinations for measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella. Some states also require vaccinations for Hepatitis A and/or B. Parents have been participating in those vaccine mandates, why so much fuss about school children being vaccinated for Covid-19?
Covid-19 Vaccine Mandates
One reason parents have had problems with the Covid-19 vaccine mandates is because the vaccines didn’t go through vaccine trials before being given to the general public on an emergency-use basis. Even though the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) eventually gave full approval to one of the Covid-19 vaccines, many parents believed the authorization had been politicized and rushed.
Another reason parents have had problems with the Covid-19 vaccine mandates is because of side effects for some children. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) admits that.
Cases of myocarditis and pericarditis in adolescents and young adults have been reported more often after getting the second dose than after the first dose of one of the two mRNA COVID-19 vaccines, Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna.
CDC and its partners are actively monitoring reports of myocarditis and pericarditis after COVID-19 vaccination. Active monitoring includes reviewing data and medical records and evaluating the relationship to COVID-19 vaccination.
Myocarditis is inflammation of the heart muscle, and pericarditis is inflammation of the outer lining of the heart. In both cases, the body’s immune system causes inflammation in response to an infection or some other trigger … Seek medical care if you or your child have symptoms of these conditions within a week after COVID-19 vaccination. Centers for Disease Control
Many parents are concerned about the long-term effects of the Covid-19 vaccine as well as the short-term side effects. Because the vaccine is still relatively new, the long-term effects are unknown at this time.
COVID-19 vaccine-associated myocarditis may have a benign short-term course in children; however, the long-term risks remain unknown. The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)
Parents have also expressed concern about reports of serious blood clot issues. Their concern is for young women as well as children.
Postauthorization surveillance of COVID-19 vaccines has identified safety signals, including unusual cases of thrombocytopenia with thrombosis reported in recipients of adenoviral vector vaccines. One of the devastating manifestations of this syndrome, termed vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT), is cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST).
Cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) is a rare form of cerebrovascular disease that typically affects young women of childbearing age and is generally thought to be associated with the same general risk factors as other more common forms of venous thrombosis, such as pregnancy; medications, including oral contraceptives and chemotherapy; infections of brain, ears, or face; head trauma; inherited blood clotting disorders (eg, functional deficiencies of coagulation protein S or C, antithrombin, and factor V Leiden); and, rarely, thrombocytopenia, with prevalence of prothrombotic disorders being especially high in adolescents. The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)
The CDC has a reporting feature available for parents to look at available data concerning negative reactions to the Covid-19 Vaccine, including adverse reactions, hospitalizations, life-threatening events and death. You’ll find the Health and Human Services (HHS) Data Set here. You can also look at an analysis of the most recent VAERS reports here.
Just a few months ago (October 2022) an advisory panel to the CDC voted unanimously that the Covid-19 vaccine should become part of the pediatric immunization schedule in 2023. That upset many parents and put more pressure on families about the education of their children.
[One of the best historical presentations about Sars-Cov-2 is written by former New York Times journalist Alex Berenson. He wrote the book in 2021 and shared a good historical perspective through the publication date of 11/20/21.]
Face Mask Mandates
Another big problem parents had to deal with in public schools was face mask mandates. Even though many states ended mask mandates for students, some parents would argue that the damage has already been done. They claim their children have suffered physical, emotional, and mental harm. Is that true? Many educators claim that mask wearing does not harm children, even for prolonged periods of time. Is that true?
If your child attends a school where face masks are mandated and you don’t want your child to wear a mask all day, here are some studies and articles about the impact of children wearing face masks that you can quote from when discussing the subject with educators and/or school board members. You’ll notice that governments that were mandating mask wearing by children in school had little information about the effects that would have on children during the pandemic. It seems rational to believe that parents have a right to ask questions and get answers, especially when little is known by mandating entities.
I’ve included a summary statement from each study or article to give you an idea of what you will find in it. You can do your own research to find more studies and articles, but this will help get you started.
International guidelines recommend face masks for children aged six years and older, but further studies are needed to provide evidence‐based recommendations for different age groups. The impact of face masks on children—A mini review (National Institutes of Health)
While masks can protect children from COVID-19 infection, it is unclear how mask-wearing behavior and mask mandates influence children’s cognitive and social development. How Does Wearing Masks Affect Children? National Institutes of Health, Covid 19 Research
The scientific database of the impact of wearing masks on children’s face processing performance is meanwhile thin although there are some first examples available (e.g., about face recognition performance, see Stajduhar et al., 2021). Regarding research on the impact of masks on the ability to read emotions from masked faces is mostly lacking. The main reason for this overall low number of studies might be that during several lockdowns during the COVID-19 Pandemic, empirical studies with school kids facing heavy hygienic requirements are technically hardly feasible. The Impact of Face Masks on the Emotional Reading Abilities of Children – National Center for Biotechnology Information, NIH
Elementary schools in Japan are reporting that masks are having adverse effects on their students, including more unruly behavior as masks disrupt communication. Professor Myowa says children between four and ten years old are developing the ability to empathize, to imagine what others think, and how to respond. Children normally have ample chances at school to put themselves in someone else’s shoes, but masks in classrooms mean the opportunities are much scarcer now. She suggests that teachers should consider how to create those opportunities for students in the current situation. Is wearing a mask affecting our children’s development? NHK World – Japan
Social distancing measures including face masks are suspected of causing young children’s development to have drop by up to 23 per cent during the COVID pandemic, according to a new study. Daily Mail UK
Children do not readily acquire SARS-CoV-2 (very low risk), spread it to other children or teachers, or endanger parents or others at home. This is the settled science. In the rare cases where a child contracts Covid virus it is very unusual for the child to get severely ill or die. Masking can do positive harm to children – as it can to some adults. But the cost benefit analysis is entirely different for adults and children – particularly younger children. Whatever arguments there may be for consenting adults – children should not be required to wear masks to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Masking Children: Tragic, Unscientific, and Damaging – American Institute for Economic Research
Scientific studies have shown that masks do indeed impact children’s ability to recognize faces and emotions. As with adults, masks can also interfere with verbal communication. But experts are divided on the long-term effects on children’s development. Masks in class—how damaging to child development? – Medical Xpress
A recent study, published in the journal Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications, concluded that face masks may interfere with the ability to recognize and process faces in children aged 6 to 14 years. In this study, the researchers found that children showed greater impairment in processing masked faces than adults. Specifically, the children were 20.1 percent less accurate with masked faces, while adults were 13.5 percent less accurate. Recent Study Finds That Masks May Impact Face Processing – Psychology Today
The Lancet, a world-renown medical journal, is out with a new study debunking a highly-cited CDC study that was used to support mask mandates in schools. New Lancet Study Destroys the CDC’s Justification for School Mask Mandates – TownHall.com
Christian Response to Mandates
As we’ve mentioned before in this series, it’s important that Christian parents present reasoned responses to school boards and administrators. Responses that are logical, informed and thoughtful are often received better by people who have authority over your child’s education. You can look at previous parts of this series that address best practices for speaking privately and publicly with authorities.
Mandates are challenging because people in power are forcing parents and children to do something that may be against their will. That can be frustrating to parents and lead to emotional responses. Christian parents have the challenge of making decisions for their child’s best interests while representing Jesus Christ to the world.
Remember the basics of presenting an effective Christian point about your concerns:
- Be Reasoned (logically valid)
- Be Informed (fact-based)
- Be Thoughtful (loving and kind)
We invite you to download and share these two eBooks from our War on Children series.
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