Teachers Signed Up To Teach Math, Not Get In Fist Fights With Unhinged, Anti-Mask Parents
Sutter Creek Elementary School in Amador County, California, had its first day of school Friday. When a father showed up to pick up his daughter at the end of the day, he was horrified to see his daughter and the principal wearing masks. They weren't critical race theory masks, just simple cloth facial coverings designed to keep his daughter safe from COVID-19. The father argued with the principal for a while, left and then returned to yell at her some more. A male teacher came to the principal's defense, which led to a physical altercation between the two men. The teacher lost the fight — bareknuckle brawling was not part of his training — and he was sent to the hospital for medical attention.
The school was just trying to keep students safe during a pandemic.
A dad at Sutter Creek Elementary School in Amador, CA, irate over mask mandates, beat up a teacher and sent him to… https://t.co/HomTMJO3ez— Ron Filipkowski (@Ron Filipkowski)1629029306.0
The altercation illustrates the battles caused by an ongoing pandemic and the sensitive spot school leaders are in keeping children safe from illness and creating a somewhat normal learning environment.
Uh, no, the “altercation" illustrates that a significant portion of the population is deranged and violent. This guy beat up a teacher because the school had a mask mandate. This is not normal behavior or reflective of reasonable debate. Right-wing media has helped promote the lunacy that students wearing masks is inherently in conflict with a “normal learning environment." COVID-19 outbreaks that shut down schools jeopardize the learning environment. It also doesn't help when students have to watch teachers and parents throw down in the school pickup area.
Amador County Unified School District Superintendent Torie Gibson told KCRA 3, "The teacher was bleeding. He had some lacerations on his face, some bruising on his face, and a pretty good knot on the back of his head."
Cops complain they suffer low morale when Black people politely request they not kill us during routine interactions. However, teacher morale right now legitimately sucks. A Texas teacher released a video describing her overwhelming apprehension as the school year begins. The Delta variant alone isn't the problem. It's the perverse refusal from Republicans to permit even the most basic mitigation efforts.
This Texas teacher is on the verge of tears talking about what it’s like working in a school that isn’t allowed to… https://t.co/J0uLUEkJ1S— Kolleen (@Kolleen)1628954066.0
“If I die," the teachers wonders, “who's going to take care of my children?"
That's heartbreaking, but FREEDOM, right? That's more important than the health and security of teachers and students. Of course, none of this is that shocking when you consider how Republicans have typically responded to school shootings.
Aaron Tang, professor of law at the University of California at Davis, points out that there is "no constitutional right to an education" (though we believe there should be). This limits the legal options for parents who oppose school mask mandates. Unfortunately, MAGA has set a precedent of responding with violence when the law doesn't go its way.
Last week, the school board in Newberg, Oregon, banned pride flags, Black Lives Matter signs, and any broadly “political" clothing, signs, or statements. The school board also discussed rescinding the district's "Every Student Belongs" policy, because someone probably explained to the conservative members that the policy includes LGBTQ students.
Newberg is just 20 miles outside of Portland. Its congressional district is relatively Democratic. This is relevant because we sometimes naively assume that certain statements aren't overtly political (e.g. “Every Student Belongs" or even a pride flag in 2021). Thanks to right-wing trolls who are also elected officials, masks have become just as political as pride flags or Black Lives Matter signs. The question now is whether schools will start to back down or risk more violence while trying to keep students and faculty safe.
Recent polling reveals that while a majority of Americans supports vaccine and mask mandates, a majority of Republicans opposes them. Majority rule isn't enough these days when the vocal and ignorant majority have guns.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."