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School board meetings, normally quiet and unobtrusive, are descending into madness as parents threaten, scream, and even assault board members over mask and vaccine mandates. In several states across the country, school board meetings have been taken over by wild crowds of angry parents who insist on having their say, respectfully or not.

Several parents in the United States have been arrested for aggravated battery, disorderly conduct, and even making death threats against school officials.  

The National School Board Association, comprised of educators and school board members from every state across the country, recently sent a letter to President Joe Biden, requesting support and even federal help against mobs of angry parents. According to the six page letter, “NSBA believes immediate assistance is required to protect our students, school board members, and educators who are susceptible to acts of violence affecting interstate commerce because of threats to their districts, families, and personal safety.”

Parents take anger out on school boards despite medical experts’ recommendations

This phenomenon of contentious school board meetings is new, following the COVID-19 pandemic that has raged across the country for the last 18 months. The Centers for Disease Control have recommended masking indoors for all people, regardless of vaccination status, as healthcare providers battle against the coronavirus, specifically the highly contagious Delta variant. 

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In fact, the CDC addresses schools and school children in particular, noting, “CDC recommends universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status.” The CDC recommends school mask mandates for areas in which vaccination rates are low, and community-spread of Covid is high. 

Moreover, other than elementary schools that educate young children, all people over the age of 12 are eligible for the Covid19 vaccine. However, some parents do not feel comfortable giving their children the vaccine — nor support mask mandates in schools. 

Some parents approve of masks, vaccines

Jeff Wyman, a parent in Washington state, recently attended a school board meeting in which he asked, “Will we be doing this for the foreseeable future? At what point would we simply admit that, yeah, covid kills people, we’re not going to argue that, but are we just going to do this forever?”

Another parent at the same meeting countered, “I don’t want kids to get sick, and I don’t want them to die… masks, vaccines, whatever —I just want my kid to be safe.”

As of July 29, 2021, over 4 million children across the country have contracted COVID-19, and over 43 states have reported at least one pediatric Covid death. 

Erika Stone is a graduate student in the Master of Social Work program at the University of Oklahoma, and a graduate assistant at Schusterman Library. A Chess Memorial Scholar, she has a B.A. in Psychology...