Letter: ‘Vancouver Public Schools: Creating a culture of confusion, fear and lies’

Vancouver resident Valerie Anderson shares her recent experiences with Vancouver Public Schools’ mask mandate.

Vancouver resident Valerie Anderson shares her recent experiences with Vancouver Public Schools’ mask mandate

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

I recently had the opportunity to observe the activities surrounding Homecoming weekend at my son’s high school. While I suppose I should have been thankful there were any activities at all, the mixed messages, fear mongering, bullying and lies surrounding the COVID protocols left me confused and angry.

Vancouver resident Valerie Anderson shares her recent experiences with Vancouver Public Schools’ mask mandate.
Valerie Anderson

For months now, the leadership of my son’s school, the VPS school board and the OSPI himself have made it clear to me that they are subject to the whims of the emperor governor and “following the science” (following the narrative) of the state mandates and local health departments. “We’re just doing what we’re told. Our hands are tied.” Despite the fact that RCW28A.320.015 gives local school districts the power to act on behalf of the best interests of their own communities, constituents and students as they see fit. 

But that’s what I was told. “We follow the rules.” 

Except, when they don’t. Except, when school district leadership and even teachers and coaches individually make up their own rules and usurp the authority of the emperor governor himself. 

Take for instance, when a game is held at a large outdoor stadium; it’s a ticketed event, a tally is taken of those in attendance and it is clearly less than 500 people. Current mandate states no masks required outside if less than 500 in attendance. Signs were posted at the stadium: MASKS REQUIRED IN STADIUM. Announcements were made from the PA every 20 minutes: MASKS ARE REQUIRED. Were people wearing masks? Well, that’s a jumble of mixed messages! Football players engaged in full contact sport, with another team from another community, are NOT required to wear masks, nor are their coaches. Homecoming court and their escorts were not required to wear masks. Parents and families living in the same household who escorted their senior players onto the field ALL wore masks. It was explained to me that they were not told that they had to, but… since there were signs posted everywhere, and announcements every 20 minutes told them they had to and no one told them they did not, I’d say it’s clear they were bullied into doing so. Cheerleaders, although they never touch each other and stay more than 6 feet apart, always wear masks. Why? It’s not required by the current district and area athletic Covid mandates. I asked. The answer I was given was, they have decided to wear masks because it “makes them feel most comfortable”. Do you think their coach had something to do with that? The same teacher who was wearing two masks last year because she apparently didn’t know that absolutely NO ONE in her age category and under in Clark County had ever died of Covid? And now, after she’s been vaccinated, she and her cheer team, who may or may not be vaccinated, are “more comfortable” wearing masks outside… while maintaining 6 foot distances…?

As a frontline medical worker, I fully understand how difficult it is to be employed in a system in which you feel powerless to effect meaningful change, to have to enforce arbitrary and nonsensical rules and feel like you have no other choice than to do as you are told to keep your job. What I don’t understand is adding unnecessary rules where there are none, creating an atmosphere of confusion and misinformation, and instead of standing up against tyranny, adding to it by allowing petty egos and personal neuroses hinder efforts to educate, inspire and empower the next generation of Americans. 

What grieves me the most is that when I asked my son about it, he understood it exactly for what it is: LIES. “When I’m playing a game and I’m full-on tackling someone Covid doesn’t exist. But, when I’m sitting up in the stands, it’s dangerous? I have one teacher who wears his mask under his chin and doesn’t care if any of us wear our masks, and another teacher says she’s going to send me home if I’m walking down the hall by myself with my mask under my nose. I’m with the same kids at school and we’re supposed to wear masks, but when we’re together after school we never do. It’s all a joke.” 

It’s lying. And if they can learn to lie to their teachers, they can learn to lie to you.

Are you tired of it? Are you ready to make a change? Are you ready to start VOTING for a change? It’s time. 

There are two positions open for election for VPS school board, and two new candidates who are LISTENING to parents, and completely uncorrupted by the unions, or by conflict of interest (they are not teachers in other school districts), they are simply parents and/or community members who want what’s best for our kids. If elected, they would be a minority to the majority of corrupt, entrenched board members, but they would be there to fight for our students, our parents, our community and our taxpayers.

VOTE: Michelle Belkot and Jorge Bailey for Vancouver Public School Board

And the next election cycle? Perhaps a couple more will be gone, until we have a board that listens and learns. And, maybe they will hire a superintendent who listens and learns. Wouldn’t that be astonishing!

And maybe we can turn the Titanic around. 

Those of us who are attending and speaking at school board meetings, speaking out on social media, and simply paying attention and advocating for the best interest for our children, grandchildren, communities and country, come from very different perspectives: Some, like me, are desperate just to shove our Juniors and Seniors across the finish line in some semblance of normalcy and be done with it. Some were told to sink or swim during Covid lockdowns and found out they could swim just fine without the public schools and are now doing so. Some are just now beginning their educational journey with their precious young ones and want nothing to do with the public schools and have opted out. All of us care deeply about preserving the institution of the public school system; a free, quality education for all children in the US, and see it’s imminent and tragic failure on the horizon if current leadership refuses to hear from the communities they are elected and hired to serve.

“Do what you can with what you have, where you are,” stated President Teddy Roosevelt.

Do you teach your children that it’s wrong to lie? Good for you. Do you teach your children it’s wrong for an adult to ask them to lie? Pay attention. Our public schools, our current Covid ‘rules’ are asking them to lie every day. They are creating a culture of confusion, fear and bullying and it doesn’t need to be that way. 

Don’t ask your children to participate in the lies any longer. If they learn to lie to them, they will learn to lie to you.

Ask questions. Push back hard. Vote for change.

Valerie Anderson


    1. Thomas Casey

      Clark County: Support our petition to outlaw medical discrimination. We need your (real) signature and help to make this happen.
      Learn more here
      Petition Signing 2-4pm
      Emmanuel Baptist Church 
      14810 NE 28th St, Vancouver WA
      Petition Gatherers Training 10-11am 
      Chandelier Bakery
      5206 NE 78th St, Vancouver WA 

  1. Scott Hooper

    I can surely relate to the confusion, but I can also see how a few ‘carve outs’ are intended to help and not hurt, such as allowing active athletes to forgo masks.

    What we know is that, contrary to what you suggest for that apparently younger teacher, there is no age group safe from COVID. It can kill anybody, and we don’t really know why just yet.

    But we also know it is pretty low risk for our kids, perhaps on-par with the flu.

    But the point behind the masks and whatnot isn’t just to protect kids, but to keep them from supporting the spread throughout the community at large. This is a pure good, as we should all hope to raise children to become adults who care about our community and not just ourselves.

    But I too have seen some flippancy and confusion, which is largely from bad communication and/or a handful of people not following established policy, such as the teacher you mention who wears his mask under his chin and doesn’t care what students do.

    There will always be these outliers who buck the rules, science, and even common sense. Our job must be to help our children understand why this happens and teach them to understand it.

    Our state–our Governor, and our school boards–have done an above average job of managing the pandemic, even with a loud but small minority bucking them every step of the way. When it’s all over, there will be many people alive who would not have been, had we thrown caution and consideration for others to the wind.

    I’m proud of that, even if a little frustrated at the confusion you speak about and the seemingly growing number of people who want to eject reason in favor of emotionality.

    1. Valerie J.

      If teachers, and any adult who chooses to be, are vaccinated, and vaccines are effective in protecting against serious illness and hospitalization, how are children who don’t wear masks a threat to our community? Those who are severely at risk have options to protect themselves, AS THEY ALWAYS HAVE. When my mother was undergoing chemotherapy for uterine cancer (pre-Covid), she mostly stayed home, we didn’t visit if we had the sniffles, or visited outside and at a distance and washed our hands when we entered the house. When my mother was vulnerable and at risk, the rest of us (and the entire country) didn’t stay home; SHE DID.
      I counter your statement that “many people” will be alive because of the agenda set forth by the governor and school boards. Have you even considered the children who have died from suicide, abuse, neglect, and sex trafficking during Covid restrictions? Are you including adults who have died or had their lifespans shortened due to not getting the preventative or emergency medical care they needed because… Covid?
      Our elite ruling class show us every day that the rules do not apply to them, therefore there really is no danger. Tens of thousands of illegal aliens pour across our borders with nary a test or a vaccination; but my perfectly healthy child who has already been tested twice this school year (and had a negative result twice) sitting in an outdoor stadium, or sitting in a classroom with the same group of kids he sits with every. damn. day. is a danger to our community?
      My reasoning is perfectly sound. I’ve been thinking very critically about this since the very beginning.
      Maybe it’s time for you to set your emotions aside and do some critical thinking yourself.

    2. Erin Bernardi

      Thank you for your common sense and for a communication style that suggests we are a community, in this together. In scary times, it can be especially helpful if we ask ourselves, “Is my choice making this situation better or worse?”

  2. Erin Bernardi

    Currently, there are 39,091 diagnosed COVID cases in Clark County and 431 confirmed COVID DEATHS according to Clark County Public Health.

    1. Valerie

      431 cumulative since the beginning of 2020! And how many of those were over the age of 80 and had lived past the pre-Covid life expectancy of 78 in the US? How many people have died in the past year and a half of cancer, heart disease, car accidents, violent crimes? Did we forget that the elderly AND MANY CHILDREN used to die of influenza ALL THE TIME? I should HOPE that Covid is all I get in my lifetime. The odds of surviving are so much better than all the others.

  3. ROB

    I am glad this is an opinion piece, because that’s all it is is your opinions. There is very little realistic fact included in your writing. If you are reading this piece, don’t rely on opinions. Get the FACTS for yourself. Call the schools, go to parent nights, participate in meetings, talk to coaches. Don’t just sit by and watch everything and then post false or misleading statements and keep spreading fear and mistrust.

    1. Valerie Anderson

      As a frontline medical worker who never stopped working, in a Covid testing clinic, in a vaccine clinic, in an urgent care clinic, with the highest risk and most vulnerable patients, yes for a year before there was even a vaccine available, tracking the data daily (until they stopped posting it daily) then weekly. I can confidently say: This isn’t just my opinion. I have not only talked with, but worked with those most intimately involved in this whole debacle from before the time when the rest of you knew it was a thing. I watched it unfold from the inside out while the rest of you just opened your mouths and swallowed whatever the main stream media spoon fed you. I’ve been in constant communication with everyone from the OSPI to the local teachers. And I’ve been at the last three school board meetings in my district. Have you?


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