Updated: Jul 2, 2022
Originally published in American Thinker on January 28, 2022
By Sarah Smith
Masking, testing, and vaccination mandates are devastating our schools. Two-thirds of the United States have shown that these mandates are not necessary for safe operation of schools, yet children and teachers are continuing to suffer in over a dozen states.
Here in New Mexico, a state already known for its failing educational system, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s COVID mandates are physically, emotionally, and mentally damaging to our children, teachers, and school personnel. This damage is not isolated to one particular school or district; it is happening all over the state to New Mexicans young and old, Latino and white, wealthy and poor. And there are no obvious benefits.
New Mexico has one of the highest vaccination rates in the country and has been under a statewide mask mandate for nearly two years. Even though many already have natural immunity, our teachers are mandated to receive COVID shots and booster shots, or else face unfair testing and quarantine requirements. Students and teachers are forced to wear masks in school, and even outdoors in some districts. Nonetheless, we are currently experiencing one of the worst COVID surges in the country, with high hospitalization and death rates.
Our people are suffering, but the Governor’s office is not listening. Governor Lujan Grisham has even gone so far as to remove an entire elected school board who voted to remove the mask mandate in their district.
Because I’ve been vocal about civil rights throughout the pandemic, parents from all over the state have reached out to me to share their concerns over the school mandates. I’m also organizing a group of several hundred NM teachers and school personnel who are being harmed by the mandates, and the experiences they have shared with me are distressing. The following are just some of the many accounts of harm due to COVID mandates in NM schools.
Because of masking, NM children, teachers, and school personnel are suffering blackouts, vomiting, breathing problems, dizziness, disorientation, nosebleeds, and other health problems. These types of negative health effects have also been documented in scientific studies.
Young children are vomiting in their masks, and ashamed such that they do not remove their masks. School personnel become aware when vomit is dripping out of the children’s masks. This was reported by school personnel from two districts in southeastern and northern NM.
According to NM teachers and learning specialists, masks directly impede the learning of crucial skills such as reading and mathematics, have serious negative effects on children’s emotional and developmental health, and interfere with children’s ability to learn communication and facial expressions.
A school social worker is seeing a great increase in suicidal depression in NM school children. A young child who has a mask medical exemption was denied access to in-person education and was only allowed access to online school (which does not work well for this young child).
A young boy came home from school with his mask duct-taped to his nose. His teacher had duct-taped his mask to his nose to keep it in place.
Teachers and children are being harassed about masks. Children in multiple districts have received in-school suspensions for pulling their masks down to catch their breath. A teacher in southern NM was harassed about pulling her mask down to drink in class such that she now hides in her classroom closet to take a drink.
Children’s sense of safety and health is being deranged such that they believe it is dangerous to breathe. According to a northern NM teacher, students are afraid to remove their masks outdoors because they are afraid that taking off their masks will result in the teacher dying.
Vaccination Mandates, Coercion, and Discrimination
Unvaccinated NM children, teachers, and school personnel (many of whom have robust natural immunity) are required to submit to COVID tests in order to participate in school. There are known risks to COVID-19 tests, including exposure to ethylene oxide on nasal swabs (which is known to cause cancer through inhalation), cerebrospinal fluid leak, and severe nasal bleeds. The CDC acknowledges that fully vaccinated people can easily spread COVID-19. Thus, it is irrational and punitive to require only unvaccinated teachers and students to be tested.
Unvaccinated children and teachers who will not submit to three COVID tests after being identified as a “close contact” have been required to quarantine for 10-20 days. This has resulted in unvaccinated children missing many days of school due to multiple quarantines and falling far behind over the course of a semester.
Children, teachers and school personnel are being discriminated against, threatened, and harassed because of their vaccination status. A teacher in northern NM called out all of the unvaccinated students in class and required them to segregate from the other students. A teacher in southeast NM reported that the unvaccinated teachers at his school were called out over the intercom and required to line up at the principal’s office. A teacher in northwest NM and a school bus driver in northern NM were terminated because of their testing and vaccination status.
Despite the facts that a) children have extremely low risk from COVID-19 illness, b) COVID-19 vaccinations are linked to increased risk of heart problems in young people, c) clinical trials for all COVID-19 vaccinations are ongoing, and d) long-term risks of COVID-19 vaccinations are unknown, children in NM have been offered $100 incentives to receive COVID-19 vaccination.
A teacher reported that at the vaccination clinic in her elementary school, some young children who are fearful of the shots are being held down and forced to receive vaccination. These children’s parents have signed consent forms for their children to receive COVID-19 vaccination at school. There is potential long-term trauma for the children being forced to receive vaccination as well as the other children who have witnessed these forced injections.
COVID-19 Mandates are Harming Children’s Educations
Forcing children, teachers, and school personnel to be masked, tested, and vaccinated is clearly not working. Many children are falling behind educationally as well as suffering physical and emotional health problems because of the mandates.
There was already a shortage of teachers, and the mandates are further worsening the situation by driving many capable, dependable teachers out of the school system. Inferior personnel are now being hired and teachers are being asked to cover multiple classes. The teacher shortage has even reached the point where state employees and the National Guard are being called on to serve as substitute teachers. There is much more to education than having someone there who is knowledgeable; the kids need continuity, connection, and relationships with their educators. The educators need to know the students, so they can tailor the teaching and lessons to the kids’ strengths and weaknesses.
Furthermore, COVID-19 mandates are creating a hostile environment in our schools. Teachers, school personnel, and students are being discriminated against, harassed, bullied, and threatened because of the mandates.
All people have a fundamental right to choose whether or not to use medical devices and treatments, without coercion, threats, or discrimination. It is time to put children first and remove the mandated COVID-19 vaccinations, masking, and testing in our schools.
Sarah Smith is a leader for the National Coalition for Health Integrity. She is also a natural healthcare practitioner and former NASA aerospace engineer.