‘We the People’ pack the house at school board meeting

‘We the People’ pack the house at school board meetingBy Pat Farris

News Review Publisher

The council chambers were packed with more than 300 people at the Thursday, August 19 meeting of the Sierra Sands School Board. The crowd consisted mostly of the “We the People” movement. There was standing room only; people were seated on the floor; some were standing outside in the foyer unable to get in. During public comment several members of the “We the People” group brought concerns regarding vaccines and the wearing of masks mandates.

Lindsay Stevens, responsible for ushering in the movement was the first spokesperson, stating her purpose of the movement saying, “It is to put a stop to the division that is being created through the federal and state government mandates, and bring freedom and liberty back to our community. These are the amazing principles our Country was founded on in 1776. We aren’t asking for anyone to be banned or prevented from doing what they think is best for their families and themselves, we just want freedom of choice in regards to vaccines, masks, and testing. If anyone is forced to choose taking a vaccine so they can be employed to put food on their family’s table that is no longer freedom.”

She asked that the board recognize the group’s concerns of over dependence on federal and state mandates.

For the most part, respect was shown by both the group and the board. Many of those representing “We the People” were teachers and other employees of the district.

Emily Slatkuvsky, a speech therapist for the district shared how the mask mandates are going to affect the quality of the therapy provided to students. “The students I work with all qualify for individualized, specially designed services that require unique interventions for them to successfully assess their general education curriculum as their peers do.

Students struggle with articulation, meaning they have difficulty producing age appropriate speech sounds correctly.”

She explained that the wearing of masks removes any chance that the child has of getting a visual model of the sounds they are struggling to produce.

A typical speech session may include gloves, a tongue depressor, a cheerio or m&m, or a straw to help the child get appropriate tactile feedback for the sounds they are working on.

None of these tools are possible when wearing a mask or the other option, a face shield.

She stated, “I think it is important for the district to realize that the current guidance is not appropriate in all situations.”

Representing the medical community, Dr. Tom Taliaferro introduced himself as a Messianic Jew stating that his maternal grandparents left Nazi occupied Romania so “I know what state control is. I am unwilling to let it happen in America or Ridgecrest.”

He noted his credentials that he believed equipped him to speak professionally on the subject pertaining to the wearing of masks. He conducted a test in his office using a medical grade pulse oximeter. There were four males and four females first without masks then with masks. Each of the eight patients had their pulse rate increase on average 5bpm and had 2-3% decrease in their oxygen saturation. Oxygen goes to every cell in the body. “Children need to be exposed to natural environments to fully develop their immune systems.”

Danielle Slaton, a mother of three children who attend local schools spoke, “I speak not as a scientist, a teacher nor a medical professional, but as a mother. My three boys have been stripped of their freedom to choose as to what is forced upon their bodies.” She suggests a mandate to wear a mask while in an indoor shared space violates that freedom. “I have researched and found that masks are worse for our bodies than COVID itself.” She referred to a group of parents in Gainsville, Florida who cultured their children’s masks and found that they were traps for dangerous bacteria that potentially make children sicker than COVID. These parents sent six masks to the University of Florida’s Mass Spectrometry Research and Education Center. After being worn for five to eight hours most during in-person schooling by children ages 6-11, five were found contaminated with bacteria, parasites, and fungi, including three of them with eleven pathogenic and pneumonia-causing bacteria. “Why are we subjecting our children to these deadly pathogens?”

After a few days of school I washed my boys masks and this picture (she holds up a picture) shows what was washed from them. We need you who disagree with this mandate to stand up and fight or advocate for our children. My six year old after seeing what came out of his mask, said, ‘Mommy. Why do we have to wear these? I wish it could be over.’”

Vicki Peach introducing herself as a bus driver for the district complained that currently, her bus stays at about 110 degrees and is loaded with students. She drives for more than five hours per day. Also complained that wearing a mask not only adds to her discomfort but causes her glasses to fog, impairing her visibility.

According to District Superintendent, Dr. David Ostash, the ramifications for the district to support the resolution would be to comply with the California Department of Public Health requirements which states, “Schools face substantial legal, financial, and other risks if they do not follow Mandatory Universal Masking Directive.” Ostash says, “Failure to comply with mandates could bring about the withholding of funds which would paralyze the community. Currently all staff members are either vaccinated or tested weekly.

Children are not required to wear masks outdoors. We do not collect information on students regarding their vaccination status.”

Laura Austin Photos: More than 300 local citizens attended the Sierra Sands Unified School District board meeting last Thursday evening. Most of the audience consisted of the members of the “We the People” group.

Story First Published: 2021-08-27