Letter: This Freedom Train is rolling through your town

Battle Ground resident Harlyn Thompson discusses a protest that took place at Woodland Middle School Friday against the mask mandate in schools

Editor’s note: Opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are those of the author alone and do not reflect the editorial position of ClarkCountyToday.com

Today, Feb. 4 will go down in history for Woodland Middle School, which is just 20 miles north of Vancouver. 

Harlyn Thompson, BSN, RN
Harlyn Thompson, BSN, RN

Did you hear it? No that “rumbling” in Woodland (gateway to Mt. St. Helens) at 8:30 this morning; was not the mountain; these were “eruptions” of cheer and celebration from over 100 mask-less middle school students exercising their freedom to BREATHE freely. They came to school this morning without their MASK and gathered in unity. Just watching these students looking around and smiling in conversation with one another was watching Christmas morning happening all over again! The gift of FREEDOM could not have been more precious than on the faces of these children. Children need to BE FREE, which means to LIVE FREE. Masks do not work. They limit oxygen, not viruses.

Hats off to Woodland Middle School Principal James Johnston who stood with his mask-less students, behind a plastic face shield so we could see his smile as he spoke. The face shield had a batman scarf attached at the bottom of the shield which gave me an impression that he was warm and open and truly cares for his students. They could see his face, read his lips even though there was a shield. This was important to him. I commend him. It’s NOT his fault this is happening in his school. These are his students. He receives his students well, nonverbal communication synched well with his words and he spoke to a few select parents. These parents respect him. He is not the enemy. 

Woodland Middle School Principal James Johnston attempted to work with students who showed up at the school Friday without masks. Photo courtesy Harlyn Thompson.

Principal Johnston gave options for what is to happen next for his students by speaking out options to all his mask-less students. He took the time to closely engage each student as they were addressing concerns and he did so in a way that did not appear to discriminate in my humble opinion. He seems like a great man doing his duty to protect his students RIGHTS. Options to put the mask back on and go to class. Or go to the library and open their chrome books. Other options about having to fill out a form, possibly calling the parent to come get them, which he would help the students with individually. Parents that were present only had positive responses to his direction regarding their children.

One parent mentioned, sending her child to the library was segregating him from his classmates and this should not happen. We can agree, but we also realize this is the first step in the right direction.

Yesterday, high school students made an important impact to STOP this MASK MANDATE. Now ALL schools in Clark and Cowlitz county and across this entire state can and more and more students will be equipped with the FREEDOM to replicate this FREEDOM STAND.

On a side note, I cannot help but smile to see this effort come from our students, and God, yes God. The timing of this was not a coincidence. On Feb. 1 our Clark County Council members voted AGAINST our mini-initiative Petition to STOP MEDICAL DISCRIMINATION. They tried to silence 11,505 Registered Voters who came out to sign our legitimate historical petition. All we needed was 8,311 votes but we had over 3K more signatures. Only one brave council member listened to us. Only one. Thank you Eileen Quiring O’Brien. Thank you for your dedication to support FREEDOM. We will never forget you.

Then … as God would have it, the very next day, Washougal High School stood up and made national news. (Fox News, Jesse Watters). Today, Woodland Middle School stood up.

Harlyn Thompson, BSN, RN
Battle Ground

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