American Federation Of Teachers President Randi Weingarten: “Governors Who Ban Masks Make Schools Unsafe For Kids”
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - With school underway amidst continuing Teacher, parent and student concern about the Coronavirus Pandemic, American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten says governors who ban Staff and kids from wearing anti-virus masks make schools unsafe (Photo Courtesy of the Wall Street Journal).
And while Weingarten didn’t name names in her mid-September statement, entitled Schools Must Be Safe, Welcoming - And Open, the Presidents of AFT State Affiliates in the two biggest “culprit” states, Texas and Florida, did.
In both states, Right-Wing GOP Governors Greg Abbott and Ron DeSantis have vocally taken the lead against masks in schools.
Echoing Trumpite rhetoric, they declare mask mandates “infringe on individual liberty.”
DeSantis has even gone so far as to threaten to yank state aid from Florida districts that defy his edict.
Several sued to stop it and it’s on hold in the courts.
The Governors’ edicts also caught the Feds’ attention.
The Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights sent formal letters to both states on September 21st and the office is opening an investigation of Florida’s and Texas’s masks-in-schools bans to determine if it violates the Civil Rights of disabled students, who are among the most vulnerable to the Coronavirus, by exposing them to it.
The issue of masks in schools is part of the wider ideological conflict, fueled by former GOP White House occupant Donald Trump, acolytes such as DeSantis, Abbott, and Trump’s Right-Wing hordes of followers.
By catering to Trump’s ideological army, DeSantis and Abbott are also viewed as potential 2024 Republican Presidential contenders.
Anti-mask and anti-mandate GOP officials and their legions have bounced between several reactions to the Coronavirus - but now, they defy Federal recommendations for simple anti-Coronavirus measures, such as masks, physical distancing and especially vaccinations.
Such defiance puts kids at risk, Weingarten said.
As of September 22nd, the virus has killed 678,517 people.
“This is a moment to build safe and welcoming environments in every school so we can help kids not only recover from the disruptions of the past eighteen months, but thrive,” she said after returning from a nationwide tour - including in Dallas - to talk with Teachers, parents and kids about AFT’s $5 million program to help schools cope with the virus.
Dallas is defying Abbott.
“The places doing this most successfully are where Educators and school leaders are working together, creating trust and transparency. Conversely, Governors trying to score ideological points by banning mask mandates and bullying school leaders for implementing safety protocols are stoking hostile and unsafe climates,” Weingarten declared.
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