As students enter yet another school year of COVID regulations, many parents—and their kids—have had it. Data regarding mask efficacy is majorly lacking, and schools re-imposing mask mandates against parental consent are creating serious tension.
Before a recent school board meeting in Mishawaka, Indiana, more than 200 people protested outside to rally for parent choice on masking. When the board voted to force masks on kids anyway, students flooded the schools with exemption requests.
While this is certainly one way to fight back against what has now become the religion of the left, there’s another argument that students can use, too: their right to free speech in a public school.
As much as “authorities” drone on about how masks save lives, they just don’t have the supporting data. Anyone with the least bit of knowledge on this topic knows the virus is simply too small to be contained by a mask. Plus, a child’s eyes are wide open, and the virus can get in that way, too.
Consider some other sources. Remember, as recently as December, the World Health Organization said: “At present there is only limited and inconsistent scientific evidence to support the effectiveness of masking of healthy people in the community to prevent infection with respiratory viruses, including SARS-CoV-2 (75).” Furthermore, the WHO lists a bunch of potential harms from wearing masks, and those need to be taken into consideration.
The WHO went so far as to acknowledge that there are emotional and political aspects to mask-wearing. One of the WHO’s benefits to mask wearing is “making people feel they can play a role in contributing to stopping spread of the virus.” People may feel good wearing a mask because they think they’re helping stop the spread, but that doesn’t mean what they’re doing is actually working.
Also, don’t forget the May 21, 2020 article in the New England Journal of Medicine that said: “It is also clear that masks serve symbolic roles. Masks are not only tools, they are also talismans that may help increase health care workers’ perceived sense of safety, well-being, and trust in their hospitals. Although such reactions may not be strictly logical, we are all subject to fear and anxiety, especially during times of crisis.”
It clear that this isn’t about just science. The “experts” simply do not have the studies to actually show that masks are significantly effective in stopping viruses. Rather, mask-wearing is virtue signaling. Many people wear masks because they’re scared, they want to show they care about others, or they support the government’s mask-up message. It has become a political ideology.
Consider the flip side. Many people don’t wear a mask because it expresses a political idea that they abhor. Not wearing a mask sends the message: I am not with the government on this; I do not believe lies about COVID; I will not be subordinate to inane government messaging based on no scientific data; and I am not frightened of COVID-19. Quite simply, by not wearing a mask, these people are making their own political statements.
At this point, wearing a mask or not is akin to political speech. Duhaime’s Law Dictionary defines political speech as: “Expressions which comment on government action rather than the private conduct of an individual.”
Students who consider the mask political commentary have the right not to wear one, because political speech on public school grounds is considered protected. A public school would be on shaky ground, indeed, to try to suspend a student who declines a mask for such reasons.
The American Civil Liberties Union explains political speech in school this way:
Schools can’t discriminate based on the viewpoint expressed by your clothing. The Supreme Court has recognized that public school students do not ‘shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.’ The First Amendment prohibits schools from picking and choosing which views students are allowed to express. All views have to be treated equally, so long as they are not obscene or disruptive. This means that if a school permits items like t-shirts with slogans, buttons, or wristbands, it has to permit them no matter what message they express.
There is yet another way to argue this. A student can say that wearing a mask doesn’t make him feel secure in his person. A student could certainly argue that a mask hides who he is. After all, federal courts decided a student had the right to go to school with his hair dyed blue using the same argument. Look at this excerpt, also from the ACLU:
The district court’s decision in McNew’s case was based on a 1972 Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling, Massie v. Henry, holding that students have a ‘right to wear their hair as they wish as an aspect of the right to be secure in one’s person guaranteed by the due process clause.’ In 1999, the ACLU also represented a Chesterfield County Middle School student who was ordered to leave school because her hair was colored pink. That case never made it to court, as the school immediately reinstated the student once the ACLU intervened.
To make these arguments even stronger, consider the professor at George Mason University who sued his school for an exemption from the vaccine citing his COVID antibodies, though the university denies a settlement has been reached.
An increasing number of studies are also showing natural immunity is real and lasting. A recent Israeli study, for instance, found previously infected people could be 13 times less likely to contract COVID-19 than a vaccinated-only person. With mask science laughable, this actual science can certainly provide an additional defense.
As the mask battles intensify, and the left continues to be unable to make a solid scientific case for masks, they can expect pushback. This is no longer a question of health and safety. This fight is about the government censorship of free speech and individual liberty.
Correction: This article previously stated George Mason University agreed to a vaccine exemption based on COVID antibodies. The university denies this.