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Horowitz: The abuse of schoolchildren continues even in the reddest states

Op-ed

Demand better

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Despite a full year's worth of science and data showing that kids in school are not at risk at all from this virus and that they are not meaningful vectors of spread, even the reddest of states are making them the last to get a reprieve from the mask fascism, rather than the first. This is likely the most radical policy ever implemented in our lifetimes. The muted response from most established conservative officials and organizations is shocking.

Yesterday, many conservatives celebrated yet another red state governor removing the mask mandate when Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon announced he would terminate the mandate by the end of the week. However, in his press release, he adds the following gem: "The face covering protocol will remain in place in K-12 schools as a safety measure to ensure that classroom learning and all student activities can continue to occur safely."

I guess a "face covering protocol" is one way to euphemize the criminalization of the breathing of our children for absolutely no scientific reason and with no legal justification. How a policy like this could ever have gotten off the ground in a state like Wyoming, much less be continued indefinitely, reveals a weakness of resolve in our own people.

What's worse than shutting down schools is acclimating children to a "new normal" of child abuse that, because it has the veneer of a return to normalcy, can continue long-term, if not forever. The bar of sanity was set so low from the get-go that the psychosis of masking children for a virus that affects them less than the flu will only get worse over time.

One school in the supposed red state of Ohio is now requiring double masking of children! Also in Ohio, a Dayton pediatrician is now warning about an increase in rhinovirus now that kids will return to school. The horror! Kids will now get the common cold again! Ironically, COVID has been so minimal for children that we forgot what it was like for significant portions of a class to be out of school with fever during the winter months. Ailments like strep throat, the flu, enterovirus, and other common infections will now be used as an excuse to either shut schools or forcibly mask children forever.

In fact, this is no joke. If imposing a severe form of abuse and prohibiting normal breathing of children for seven hours a day was implemented without a scintilla of blowback from most parents – all for a virus that doesn't affect the kids – it's not hard to see how the flu and even the common cold will be the new baseline for permanent masking. Despite the entire notion of regulating the lives of children being thoroughly discredited by the data, there is almost no county in the entire country where people can school their children without their faces being covered.

Data from Sweden published in a letter to the New England Journal of Medicine examined ~2 million school-age children (ages 1 to 16) from March through June 2020, where there was no masking or other mitigation efforts, and found just 15 children (0.00075%) required hospitalization from COVID-19, and there was not a single reported death. They also found no greater risk of serious infection among teachers than the general population, adjusting for other variables. A similar study in Norway found remarkably low transmission in schools, even though there is no recommendation to wear masks.

With so few kids getting sick from this virus and so little evidence that masks work for anyone, why are we not considering the harmful effects of mask-wearing on children, sometimes as young as 3?

The first results of a German study of over 26,000 children and adolescents show 68% of parents reported impairments in their children as a result of mask-wearing, including the following side effects: irritability (60%), headache (53%), difficulty concentrating (50%), decreased happiness (49%), malaise (42%), impaired learning (38%), and fatigue (37%).

What are the benefits of this mandate, even if masks did work in stopping a spread, that could possibly justify this collateral damage? And what about the emotional damage? A 2010 paper from Harvard University observed the damage that can be caused by exposing them to endless fear and anxiety: "Ensuring that young children have safe, secure environments in which to grow, learn, and develop healthy brains and bodies is not only good for the children themselves but also builds a strong foundation for a thriving, prosperous society," wrote the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child for Harvard University. "Science shows that early exposure to circumstances that produce persistent fear and chronic anxiety can have lifelong consequences by disrupting the developing architecture of the brain."

Has anyone bothered to study what masks do to children's wonderous God-given immune systems that have performed so well against this virus? How much bacteria do they help trap in the lungs of children? God didn't design us to have our noses and mouths covered, especially at the developmental stage of life.

Consider the fact that all of this harm was perpetrated against a generation of children for absolutely zero gain. The Peaster Independent School District of Parker County, Texas, for example, was one of the few counties in the country that never required masks or social isolation. According to Superintendent Lance Johnson, enrollment numbers were up this year, and it was one of the few districts in the country where the academic growth is tracking at grade level. "Our kids have thrived and our teachers have thrived," he said. "And it's just been real eye-opening to see how we've done things different than other schools."

It turns out that the absentee rates among teachers were only slightly higher than at that time in 2019, which clearly indicates that the rate of infection among teachers was not any higher than the general community, as was witnessed in Sweden and Norway.

"18 months ago what we're doing to kids would've been criminal," said Johnson. "And here we are fighting going back to that model, fighting letting kids be kids, and letting kids socialize and letting them have a normal school year."

How can we accept another day of this in all those red states? Demand better.
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