My families educational pandemic horror story

For those of you that don’t know me, I am a mother of 3 kids; one that graduated for the West Ada School District and two that spent their last year in public schools, prior to homeschooling, in the Nampa School District. I am the wife of an Air Force vet and a former educator. I am a Boise native and a graduate of Capital High School. I received my teaching degree from NNU. I had the opportunity to begin my teaching career in Meridian, taught one year in Nampa, and then spent the majority of my time teaching in the Boise School District. I have always had a love for kids and a passion for education. I love this state, this community, and all the Treasure Valley has to offer families.

My real journey began with fighting to make masks optional in the Nampa Schools District in April of 2021. I knew I had to stand up after my 12-year-old daughter was threatened and bullied at school over a 3-day period ending with her being assaulted. According to the school’s Resource Officer (SRO), the girl preyed on my daughter and punched her in the head at least 3 good times. The school never informed me of any of these attacks. It was not until I contacted them after she came home bruised, that I found out they were struggling with identifying students. The school’s Dean of Students told me that it was “hard to tell who’s who when they’re only there 2 days a week and are all wearing masks”. He was telling me that school staff doesn’t know who the kids really are and it’s hard to get to know the kids when they are only at school half the time. At this point students were split into two groups according to their last name and these groups took turns going to the brick-and-mortar building.

That was the day I knew it was time to make a change! I honestly still don’t know if it was the educator or parent that was more concerned.

On March 11, 2021, I wrote the Nampa School Board and Superintendent a letter sharing my concerns over the lockdown and masks on our kids. The response from the Superintendent was to contact the Administration and the response from the Board was to contact the Superintendent and/or the Administration. The same district run around I had received all year. The attitude district wide was that parents needed to give them all a break, “It’s a COVID year.”

To say this past year has been a struggle for our family would be an understatement. My 23-year-old son has had 10 friends commit suicide. They had their whole lives ahead of them and they are gone! I sat with an 8th grade girl that has had to go on anxiety medication because she cannot breathe in her mask and the middle school she attends, won’t allow her to take breathing breaks without consequences. This girl just wants to breathe.

As my kids struggled, I felt like no one cared. Most teachers ignored me, administrators would not return my calls, district officials and the Superintendent would send me back to the administrators, the School Board would send me to the school district officials and administrators. It was a vicious cycle of no one listening and no one caring. I knew they all just wanted me to give up and go away.

So, on Tuesday, April 27, 2021, myself, and another mom created a Facebook page to begin to meet other parents that were struggling. That Friday a small group of moms met in a park. Our goal was simple…we wanted kids to have a choice when it came to wearing masks. As the days went by, we heard time and time again that parents did not feel heard. The pain I saw as parents and students would share their stories with us was heartbreaking. So many people were hurting like my family was hurting. So many kids were suffering like my kids were suffering. Kids of all ages were telling me the stories of the pain they were experiencing at school.

At one of our high schools a boy was given lunch detention for pulling down his mask to blow his nose. At an elementary school, a first-grade class lost their lunch recess and was forced to walk around the track as a punishment every time one of the students broke the mask rule. A 7-year-old boy had a friend tell him that he was going to kill him because his mask fell below his nose while he was sliding down a playground slide. That young boy was so upset he punched his friend. What are we teaching these young kids? A nine-year-old girl pulled her mask down to blow her nose and was made to stand along a wall in front of her class. Once that time was finished, she was forced to spend the rest of the day in a Special Education Classroom as a punishment. Please hear me carefully…my daughter has an IEP. I have spent a lot of time in my career working with and loving children with special disabilities. I, myself, have had 2 TBIs. It breaks my heart to think we are putting kids in Special Ed Classrooms as a punishment. Is this truly how schools feel about special needs kids?

Our group was determined from day 1 to fight for these kids. We had to fight for these parents. We had to find political leaders that would listen. Political leaders that cared that our kids were hurting. Leaders that cared parents were suffering, cared parents were crying in fear, and cared parents were desperate for hope, any hope.

On May 4, 2021, I testified at SWDH the day they unanimously passed the Resolution Rejecting Infringement Upon the Rights of Citizens of the District as Related to SARS-CoV-2(COVID-19) and its Variants or Mutations. That is the day my daughter, Carly and her friend decided to go to school without a mask. Their principal allowed it. I had never seen two happier girls. However, the following school day my daughter was not allowed into the school building without a mask and was sent home. Day 2 the principal sent her home again, not allowing her in the building. This continued day in and day out. Every day we would go to the school and the principal would stop Carly outside the school doors and send her home even though I presented him with legal documentation from America’s Frontline Doctors supported with Idaho Code, 32-1011 through 32-1013 and 32-1014.

On May 12, 2021, the Nampa School District DOXXED both my 12-year-old daughter and myself. Not only did they list our address, they listed my daughter’s school and grade. While we were out holding signs to remind the public of that night’s School Board meeting someone tried to break into my house. My 16-year-old son was home alone. A strange man came up to be in my driveway and questioned me late that night. He knew who I was and what I had been doing. On May 18, 2021, someone attempted to break in once again, this time destroying one of our security devices. Strangers began to frequent our home. My daughter received death threats via social media. The journey has not been an easy one. I tell you all of this because the fight has not just involved attending board meetings, holding signs and flags on street corners, meeting with parents and students, contacting Board Members, district officials, and local leaders. This battle has been scary and intimidating. Many parents are scared to speak up and that fear only increased after the federal threat towards parents was made.

Many emails and messages to local leaders go unanswered and unreturned. However, our group never stopped fighting. We kept our community informed. We made sure parents and students had a platform where they felt heard. We attended every Board meeting and made sure that parents knew what would be addressed at each meeting. We held the School Board accountable to the community they were elected to represent.

I have been blessed with meeting so many people along this journey. I have seen a mighty group of parents rise to join us in fighting for their kids. I love our community and love this state. I am so thankful to all these parents!

On May 17,2021, with a vote of 3 to 2 masks became optional “effective immediately and from here forward” in the Nampa School District. Many asked, “WHY NOW? WHY NOT JUST WAIT?” My answer to them, after I counted to 10 was, “WHY WAIT?” Have you talked to any children and really asked them how they feel? And I mean ask them in a nonthreatening way. I clarify that because there are so many kids that are truly scared that they will be in trouble to really tell you how they feel. My 16-year-old son was concerned to go to school the day after the mask mandate was lifted for fear of teachers being mad if he did not wear a mask. Teachers at my daughter’s middle school segregated kids masked vs unmasked EVEN THOUGH masked kids verbally told her they did not want to move away from the unmasked kids. Another teacher told the kids she would keep her mask on because they could kill her. Really? If you look at the Summary Chart from The Nampa School District. The very highest rate of spread was January 31 to February 13, 2021. For every 10,000 people in the community…not even 2 whole people were infected in a day. At the very worst we were in a low risk to the community. We did all of this to our kids because…WHY?

My real answer to WHY NOW? After I breathe a minute…comes from the first day my daughter was allowed to go back to school May 18,2021. I was with a group of moms across the street from her school. We saw her come out of the school with a group of kids smiling and talking for the first time all year. She waved and yelled across the road to me. One of the girls that was with her yelled across to me as well. The kids all went to the crosswalk and went their separate ways. That was the first day of my daughter’s 6th grade year that I had ever seen her leave the school building with friends. Before that day I had never seen her talking to anyone at school. And on this day, she was not just talking, she was bouncing with pride and happiness.

My journey has continued with pulling public records and reviewing curriculum to research what curricula is being taught in our schools. I have been so disappointed with the large about of SEL (social-emotional learning), DEI (Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion) and CRT (critical race theory) in our schools. As a former teacher, I knew that the depression, frustration, anxiety, and decline in academics wasn’t just happening in my house …it was happening all around me! So, I decided this would be a long-term journey for me and this mama bear will NEVER stop fighting for my kids as well as kids all over this state.

Sometimes the journey to fight for our kids is bumpy and rough but the goal is to make our community, our schools, this valley a treasure for future generations. The goal is to see our kids as happy as I saw that group of kids after masks were made optional. It is a day I will never forget. We have got to come together and stand with leaders that are willing to listen, leaders that care, and leaders that are willing to stand for our kids. We can never stop fighting for the future of our kids and that includes transparency in all offices, that includes leaders willing to return our phone calls and emails, that includes leaders that fight for WE THE PEOPLE not corporations, not teachers’ unions, and not school boards. Parents and students need to be able to make their own choices about whether to wear masks. Parents need to be able to make their own choices concerning their children’s medical decisions without bullying and intimidation. It is time for Idaho to be a place for WE THE PEOPLE again! It is time we give the voice back to parents and kids! THE TIME IS NOW!

God bless you!

SWDH May 4, 2021 Resolution – Click on the May 4th Resolution link once you get to the SWDH Resolution page.

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