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

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