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Opinion >  Column

Shawn Vestal: Feeling oppressed by masks in schools? Here’s the perfect solution

A man waves a sign outside the Central Valley School District’s office during a protest of COVID-19 masking regulations on Wednesday in Spokane Valley.  (Tyler Tjomsland/The Spokesman-Review)
A man waves a sign outside the Central Valley School District’s office during a protest of COVID-19 masking regulations on Wednesday in Spokane Valley. (Tyler Tjomsland/The Spokesman-Review)

Memo to the freedom-loving patriots burning with rage about the tyranny of mask mandates in schools: I have some truly excellent news regarding your liberty.

Your freedoms are intact. Your self-sovereignty is whole. You are simply facing a series of choices about whether to be a minimally good human being right now, and while no one would dream of constraining those choices, it’s true that they come paired with consequences.

So, if you are dead set against your child wearing a mask to school to help control the spread of a deadly virus that is now filling hospitals, infecting more and more children, and killing the unvaccinated – new peaks achieved largely due to people burning with your selfsame rage – you will be thrilled to learn that among your choices is one that will allow you to educate your children, sort of, while not enduring the unbearable tragedy of mask coercion.

Home school.

Short of a desert island, it sounds like just the place for you.

In home school, no one forces you to wear a mask. No one forces you to wear shoes or socks or pants or shirts, either. You could, if you wanted to test the bounds of your liberty, conduct home school in the nude. Who would be the wiser?

In home school, no one forces the instructor to get a vaccine for anything. No one frets over case numbers or hospitalizations. Delta, shmelta. Get measles! Get polio! It’s home school!

You don’t have to listen to any dumb doctors or scientists. The CDC can pound sand. Fauci can sit and spin. No one will come to home school and force you to wash your hands or brush your teeth or not eat that brown, sour meat that’s been in the fridge for a month. You can treat a stomach ache with leeches and bleed a fever and if one of your student-children develops a gunshot wound in NRA class, that’s between you and your Lord. You’re free.

Home school! The big bad governor will never force you to put on pants or learn about human biology or understand racism or wear a mask or get a life-saving shot. You’ll never have to even spell hospitalization or inoculation. In home school, you never have to ponder for even a second the way your actions might affect others.

It’s the perfect solution, and it will allow you to stop drafting bonkers protest signs and hollering at the school board.

It’s truly the land of the free and home of the … well, no. Not that. But in home school, you’re free, is my point.

Also: If you’re weary of the abuse and suffering that accompanies being a white person in 2021, all the “CRT” and “reverse racism” that you’re enduring, then home schooling is the answer for that, too. No one will force you to even think about diversity or equity in home school, just the way you like it.

Want to teach your children that slavery was actually a pretty good deal for Africans who traveled to America to find work? Go for it!

Interested in teaching the Emancipation Proclamation as the endpoint of all concerns about racism in America? Perfectly fine! No “scholar” who writes “books” and does “research” will stand in your way. Who won the 2020 presidential election? In home school, you decide!

When you teach American history in home school, you are at liberty to omit Reconstruction and Jim Crow and the civil rights movement. You can ban “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “How to Be an Anti-Racist.” Ban all the books you like! You can ignore redlining and the prison-industrial complex and the Tulsa Massacre. Never happened! In home school, you don’t need to mention the treatment of Chinese migrants who built the transcontinental railroad. You just stick that in the box with the internment of Japanese-Americans, the Dred Scott decision, and the Trail of Tears, and slap a red-white-and-blue lid on it.

In home school, history never has to tell a story you don’t want to hear.

You can focus solely on the flag and Pledge of Allegiance and the first Thanksgiving and your righteous blamelessness in all things, and never ponder the possibility that there might be deep, structural features of our country that foster and preserve historic injustice.

Yes, there are a few requirements that come along with this choice. A few very minor transgressions upon your perfect freedom. Because the state tyrannically requires children ages 8 to 17 to attend school, you are required to obtain a waiver allowing you to home-school. The waiver is due by Sept. 15, or within two weeks of the start of a new term, so get cracking.

Lots of people home-school their kids, for different reasons. Statewide, more than 25,000 families registered as home-schoolers in 2020-21, teaching almost 40,000 students at home. Among all Spokane County schools, 1,882 families registered to teach 3,276 students at home, according to state records.

Those numbers were up quite a bit – by more than double in Spokane Public Schools and other districts – due to the pandemic, but the overall point is this: Lots of people do it, and you should, too!

Home school! It’s surely the right choice for the parent who finds themselves enraged by the burdens of community life and furious at the uncomfortable truths of the world.

It may not be the best choice for the education of the students in question, of course. But let’s be honest: That’s not what this is about anyway.

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