I received a response from my school district’s contact person for questions regarding implementing county “health orders” that I print below along with my response. This is my third email requesting that my school district’s leadership defend their support of forcing “non-essentials” into poverty, masking our community, and demanding they never approach another human closer than six feet (first and second emails).
Good morning Carl,
Face coverings are required in the workplace per California mandates. The face covering requirement is an established policy and employees are directed to wear it, unless they have a medically verified exemption. HUSD has established this policiy (sic) to protect you, your co-workers, their families, and the community. We are operating in accordance with state and local safety and health guidelines.
“State of emergency” means the duly proclaimed existence of conditions of disaster or of extreme peril to the safety of persons and property within the state caused by conditions such as … epidemic, … which, by reason of their magnitude, are or are likely to be beyond the control of the services, personnel, equipment, and facilities of any single county, city and county, or city and require the combined forces of a mutual aid region or regions to combat … ~ California Code 8558 (b)
“WHEREAS I find that conditions of Government Code section 8558 (b), relating to the declaration of a State of Emergency, have been met;…”
~ Proclamation of a state of emergency, Governor Gavin Newsom, March 4, 2020
“Do not conform” is difficult advice in a generation when crowd pressures have unconsciously conditioned our minds and feet to move to the rhythmic drumbeat of the status quo. Many voices and forces urge us to choose the path of least resistance, and bid us never to fight for an unpopular cause and never to be found in a pathetic minority of two or three.” ~ Dr. Martin King, Transformed Nonconformist, November 1954
Dear (name omitted), Superintendent (name omitted), HUSD School Board, and other esteemed colleagues,
With all respect, the answer HUSD provides is a version of “just following orders.”
This is clear to everyone here, right?
We education professionals model and teach our students to reject “we just follow orders” as the answer to why we obey authority.
We’re all in agreement on this point, true?
The answer HUSD provides ignored my central question that many in our community are asking, along with millions of Californians and tens of millions of Americans:
How is declaring millions of Americans “non-essentials” forbidden to earn a living, forcing people to never get closer than 6 feet, and requiring masks an example of limited government?
As an AP US Gov teacher, I’m only bothering you because I can’t construct any reasonable argument that this “health” policy is lawful, and am asking for your explanation. If you haven’t closely read and understood the written limits to emergency powers I cite from California law to begin this message, please do so.
If your answer is like mine, that you can’t imagine any argument under the limits of emergency powers being “by reason of magnitude, are or are likely to be beyond control,” then here’s my proposal moving forward:
Please amplify this message by requiring our county to justify their restrictive policies under threat of fine and imprisonment, OR to downgrade to advisory suggestions.
I spoke with another doctor on Wednesday who repeated what dozens of other local healthcare professionals unanimously report: No hospital they know of have any Covid problem outside of normal hospital management.
Because the answer I received from HUSD ignored my central question, I apologize for providing further structure. Please answer in some reasonable way:
“The county’s ‘health orders’ are an example of limited government because the limits to emergency powers are (fill in this blank), and ‘non-essential’ business closures, mask requirements, and ‘social distancing’ are within those limits because (fill in).”
Please provide a reasonable explanation within a week (Sept. 18), or amplify this question to the county for similar answer. Any reasonable explanation seems required to provide objective independently-verifiable data of county hospitals having a Covid problem “beyond control.”
Please model what we expect of all California students in Grades 6-8 (page 81 of Common Core Standards):
“Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources.”
Please stand for HUSD’s Mission and Core Values:
We draw from our community’s rich diversity in order to create an engaging and equitable educational experience, delivered in a safe and supportive environment.
Well-Supported Staff: We enhance the capacity of every employee to promote equity and model service excellence.
Collaborative Leadership: We develop leaders at all levels who creatively tackle our challenges and communicate with integrity and transparency.
Data-Informed Decisions: We use multiple types of data, including stakeholder voice, to inform decisions and monitor progress.
In all respect and support,
National Board Certified Teacher
National Board Certified Teacher Coach
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