Mask Mandates and Critical Race Theory – What Your Kids Are Facing as They Head Back to School
It’s that time of the year when children are heading back to school – except this time with many unique challenges at play for our students and educators. The two issues that are being heavily debated right now are mask mandates and Critical Race Theory. Local school boards are making decisions about these issues on behalf of their community, regardless of state and federal government guidelines that may be in place.
One issue that local school districts are debating over is Critical Race Theory. Racism in the U.S. is real, and it is real all over the world. We cannot ignore history. But to shame a generation of 9-year-olds is just another way to divide us even further. Why is it being taught in our schools as if it is a normative theory?
ACLJ Director of Policy Harry Hutchison discusses what kids are facing as they go back to school when they are taught Critical Race Theory:
Critical Race theory is a theory that hangs over virtually every state, county, and hamlet in America. Essentially it is a form of Marxism that seeks to destroy the nation’s foundations. On grounds that the nation is fundamentally flawed and fundamentally racist and that America’s original sin is slavery. Critical Race Theory offers a number of wild claims. But plain and simple – it is a Marxist perfectionist ideology driven by the pursuit of perfect justice on issues of race, gender, and identity. And one of its founding principles is that it is essentially a religion without forgiveness. For instance, it expands the division that we’ve been talking about in the nation. Because what we are saying is that all of us are flawed human beings, we may have done something wrong in our distant past, but we can’t ever be forgiven from it because of Critical Race Theory.
Regarding the mask mandate, the truth is that there are going to be local hot spots where COVID-19 is more prominent. So, if the local school board decides that they want to address the needs of their community, then they have the constitutional authority to do so. Local health officials do it every day, but with the mask mandate it’s become truly controversial. We need to view this rationally and through a legal lens. We must remember that we are living in a constitutional republic. If we don’t like the decisions our leaders make, we have the ability to vote them out. As conservatives, we believe that it is best when governance happens as close to the people as possible. The federal government, and in some cases even states, can’t just impose a one size fits all approach to these issues on the local level.
ACLJ Senior Counsel Andy Ekonomou has experience representing school boards in the past. He discusses local government control versus state control:
I am a conservative – a traditionalist. And I am a federalist. I believe the central government has enumerative powers and not exclusive wide-ranging, broad ranging powers. I have represented school boards . . . . The most important thing in my opinion is local control through the local school boards and the local boards of education to make the decisions in their communities with respect to issues such as the mask. . . . The federal government has got no business injecting itself or the state government for that matter into determinations made by local boards of education as to what is best for the children that go to their local schools in a local school district usually comprising a particular county . . . , and I think we need to really emphasize that fact. Federalism means local control.
The division in the country over this is very tragic. The issue of masks and vaccines should be an individual conscience issue that people make their own decisions on. We have to face the reality that the Chinese Communist Party created a virus in a lab that was launched, intentionally or not, into the world. Now America has tragic death and illness and a divide in our country because of it.
Whether it is the Critical Race Theory issue or mandating masks in school, we forget where our constitutional republic is in all this. Andy Ekonomou summed up what we need to be doing regarding our nation currently divided over these issues:
The rhetoric has to be toned down and we need to start having the conversations that we are having right now. Look at the structures of a constitutional republic, local control of education, local decisions regarding curricula, and regarding policy of children should be made locally; that is the framework that we need to be talking about.
Today’s full Sekulow broadcast is complete with even more legal analysis of the mask mandates and Critical Race Theory being implemented into schools.
Watch the full broadcast below.