Forgotten Parents Tune Out DNC to Fight for a Rational COVID-19 School Policy

Michelle Mitchell stood behind a microphone in a mask before the Blue Valley School District board in Overland Park, Kansas. “We as parents are not asking you as the district leadership to decide if it’s too risky for our kids to participate in sports and activities,” she told board members on Tuesday night. “We’re asking you to give us the choice and let us evaluate the risk and do what’s best for our families.”

This wasn’t how the meeting was supposed to go. County health officials had just finished presenting an incomprehensible slide show to roll out their “recommendation” to end in-person learning options along with public school sports and activities. The bureaucrats were not prepared for discussion or debate. In the current state of things, politicized health officials simply announce new “recommendations” with an authority that supersedes all law, including the Constitution. Good citizens obey. They don’t question.

Mitchell was not like the polished politicians of the Democratic National Convention who were being aired as she spoke. Unlike the pre-taped doublespeak messages Democrats broadcast to the willingly-deceived, Mitchell had no pliant media to cheer and uncritically amplify her message. She was nervous but articulate and resolute. She was prepared and rational because she had to be against the emotion-based hysteria that threatened to deprive her children of vital educational opportunities. 

“I have seen first hand what [the quarantine] has done to teenagers in our community,” Mitchell said. “It is not good. They’re kind of the forgotten ones.”

Before the pandemic, she explained to the board, “we had a laser focus on mental health with the key takeaway of ‘get your kid involved, get the kid connected,’ and we as parents are in the best position to decide if the medical risks of COVID outweigh the mental health and all the other side effects that our children are experiencing. Just give us a choice. Let us opt in to sports and in-person school.”

Exploiting Tribulation for Power

Back at the Democratic convention, a video-recorded image of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) gleefully beamed during his speech promising sweeping changes to America. He didn’t bother supporting his anti-Trump adjectives with facts. The riots, beatings, lootings, grinding quarantines, soaring crime, unemployment, and racial tensions were ignored or blamed on Trump and his supporters who must be punished. For America, these are tribulations. But for Democrats, these plagues are serendipity to be exploited and encouraged. 

The true threat to democracy, in the minds of the smug scolds lecturing America on woke sin, is that America has not yet caught up to the enlightened democratic republics of Venezuela, China, and North Korea where an opposition no longer thrives. 

Yet as the Democrats preached utter destruction of dissent, serious parents gathered in Kansas and perhaps elsewhere to stage an insurrection against the crushing toll of politicized health restrictions. On that same night, a split-screen emerged: a fake infomercial posing as democracy managed and scripted by highly paid consultants versus an authentic, grassroots citizen action staged by non-partisan parents fighting against real oppression.

“How many hospitalizations of kids have we had in the county?” a father of a student challenged, “All you talk about is, ‘cases.’” “What about a parent misery index?” he asked. “Parents have to juggle work while kids are supposed to be attending school online.” 

These parents work to keep vital functions of the economy moving, yet nobody considers their point of view. What about mental health? What about social health? 

“How much harm are we doing to our kids?” the man asked. “CDC just came out with [data showing] a 25 percent increase in suicide and contemplation of suicide” among school-aged children. 

He added: “I know you say this isn’t political, but . . . the flu is more deadly to this age group. Why haven’t we in years past closed the schools for the flu? We don’t need a nanny state. We are all educated and we can make decisions for ourselves. I don’t think any of us are going to send our kids into something that’s dangerous. We’re hearing, ‘we can’t let anyone get sick.’ I’m not really sure where that bar came from because throughout history people have gotten sick . . . If there’s not a high mortality rate then protect the vulnerable—but don’t penalize our children.”

Getting a Handle on the Data

Dr. Christine White, a pediatric doctor and Blue Valley parent, shot holes in the data model used by the county health officials to justify extending house arrest of the county’s youth. 

“We are in the midst of a novel virus and our country is in the grip of irrational fear,” she told the board. “This virus is deadly to those over the age of 70 and to a very small extent, young adults. This virus is no more deadly to children than influenza. To date, this virus has killed 76 American children ages 0-18. In the previous four flu seasons, there has been an average death rate of 157 deaths per year. And yet we don’t close schools every flu season. Just for comparison, in 2017 6,200 children committed suicide making it the second leading cause of death.” 

White added that the quarantine had already killed more children than the virus because of excess suicides, drug overdoses, and child abuse. 

White explained that the county health officials relied on data from a skewed sample and that using the faulty data to close the schools was “unethical.” She cited experience from testing 7,500 asymptomatic patients scheduled for surgeries and procedures. “That positivity rate was 0.5 percent.” 

Symptomatic patients test at 13 percent, which is what the county health officials are using to justify shutting down the schools. “Of course the number of cases are going up. That’s OK. That’s expected. But that’s not the data point to be focused on,” White said. “When you look at the county’s data, the hospitalization rate is actually dropping, as is the death rate. There are plenty of ICU beds available to treat COVID patients. In Kansas, there have been no deaths of children under the age of 18.”

A Portent of Things to Come?

The two events presented a sharp contrast between a party that salivates over ascension to power in the midst of chaos and a citizenry resisting their role as pawns in the cynical chess match.

Relatively few Americans tuned in to the get-Trump DNC romp that really served as a video ransom note subtly threatening America with more chaos unless voters send Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to the White House. Anonymous parents on a public access video were far more informed of the risks of COVID-19 to their children than the “leaders” speaking at the DNC and the vapid network haircuts who covered them. 

The grainy video with poor sound showed parent after parent rising with salient factual arguments opposing the closing of the schools. It was striking how informed and rational each was in comparison to the hysterics of virtually all mainstream media. 

In the fog of politized media and untrustworthy polls, it’s impossible to know whether this local school board meeting represents a one-off of resistance or the leading edge of a political tsunami. 

While Johnson County might be situated in red Kansas, its demographic of educated upper-middle-class parents are quite purple, with most of them normally leaning left. But if this school board meeting is any indication, the effort to turn the fate of children into a political weapon against the president may be about to backfire. Even more than that, it indicates that the citizenry no longer trust or depend on traditional media for their information. 

About Adam Mill

Adam Mill is a pen name. He works in Kansas City, Missouri as an attorney specializing in labor and employment and public administration law. He graduated from the University of Kansas and has been admitted to practice in Kansas and Missouri. Mill has contributed to The Federalist, American Greatness, and The Daily Caller.

Photo: Nuthawut Somsuk/Getty Images

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