The Chutzpah Letters Rachel Ball Investigates COVID Policies

The Chutzpah Letters: Rachel Ball Investigates COVID Policies

I want to address the idea of transparency, civil discourse, political optics, and hypocrisy today. The Board Meeting finally brushed on some of the below items in more detail – but the request for a Question-and-Answer session has yet to be followed up on.

On July 16th I believe it was, the Triad district sent out a Return to Learn survey to the district parents, no official decisions on the RTL plan had been officially announced at this time to the community. A request however, confirmed the Triad District had signed their SHIELD contract with U of I on July 12th.  I want to come back to that, but let’s fast forward to address our ESSER I and ESSER II funding thus far. According to the 61-page FAQ document issued by the Department of Education in May 2021 and similar documents resourced there – ARP ESSER “requires” school districts and charter schools to develop mitigation plans IN LINE with the most recent CDC guidance, with plans being updated every 6 months as needed. In all of IL, 5 billion was allocated to schools from these funds. TCUSD was allocated slightly over 3 million in this funding alone. In the ED COVID-19 Handbook Volume 1 (sourced from the original ESSER FAQ document).  The plans for widely promoted vaccination are laid out. Two of the bulleted topics in this document are specifically “promoting vaccination” and “requiring universal indoor mask use.”

I want to point out that for months parents and the community have been coming to these board meetings now to discuss the topic of Individual rights and Parent Choice. In the beginning, the community was asking for a discussion. What is necessary to point out today, is that the documentation from several requests implies that the decision was already made in process, and the discussions were simply a necessary requirement optically. There was no need for concern, as likely only “one” would potentially vote in opposition.

Without “outright” stating to the schools that have applied for ESSER and other funds, it has been directed by documentation that schools need to be “in line with” whatever the most recent CDC guidance is given, and then revised at a minimum of every 6 months as needed. By my best understanding and knowledge, in the SHIELD Contract – one of two choices must be committed to. 1. Committing to testing something like 50% of those enrolled in the district or 2. Committing to implementing 10,000 tests through December. Note: The Class I Recall of some PCR tests “dates” the phasing out of PCR by December 31st. (research “WHY” the recall). The covidSHIELD is under EUA as noted in the letter (I believe August 26th) by the FDA.    Hence, all the “consent to test” forms. (What are the legal ramifications of this if any, given that some schools and employers are mandating the EUA vaccination, or if by chance opted out – MANDATING the testing or risk repercussion: loss of employment, etc.) ESSER I and ESSER II FOIA response

It’s also important to point out that the allocated funding isn’t given all at once. ESSER I and ESSER II applications at the time of my requests had been completed and submitted. ESSER III had not. (Updated note: At the September board meeting last Monday it was stated that the ESSER III application deadline was that week – September 30th. Upon request on Sept. 30th for ESSER III application submission, I was notified the deadline has now been extended to June 2022, more on this later) This is also outlined in the documents mentioned and others, as they apply to IL specific direction on these funds. It is speculation and needs further research – but also seems logical to deduce with ISBEs continued threats against schools and the involvements of the IEA and other Unions –that there is a probability for recourse of action based on the funding. In other words, parents should be asking/researching whether approval of applications for ESSER III can be denied based on a school’s mitigation compliance, and good standing in fulfillment of other items like vaccine promotion in their communities. Parents should be wondering if there are any legal ramifications for the districts who have already received ESSER I and ESSER II funding or approvals, should they fall out of compliance with the most recent CDC guidance OR fail to revise at the minimum of every six months as they agreed to upon when submitting their applications beginning after the May 2021 guidance. UPDATE ESSER III TCUSD Application submission received late last week. Page 6 differs from ESSER I and ESSER II applications, a new section added details more of what I have stated in this paragraph. 

It should also be noted, that in a publicly released request to the ISBE in February 2021– the Executive Director of communications at the IL State Board of Education stated in email “At this time, the specific statutory/regulatory language that we believe is necessary to compel such testing/vaccination does not exist. Stated another way, we do not know of any authority for a school district to mandate mandatory testing or vaccination.” FOIA screenshot ISBE1&2  Why this is important to you as a parent? IL Governor Pritzker intends to push amendments to the legislation currently BARRING him in courts based on our IL Constitution – statute 745 ILCS 70/1 and 705 ILCS 70/1.  HB4135 (a replacement for the prior HB that failed) needs your attention – emailing and calling your JCAR reps, and district representatives in the House and Senate is important and effective. Phone calls carry more value. JCAR meets again on this subject (particularly the Healthcare Right to Conscience / Educator Mandates) – October 19th. JCAR Oct 19th Agenda. We attempt to amend laws now in real-time to break down barriers and make our agendas pass? That is what’s being attempted. It happens all the time; parents need to revisit Title 77 US Code and the IL Registry report amendments from the July 30th report that went into effect on July 16. More on that later.

Many in the community are aware that lawsuits have been being brought forward by plaintiffs within our community. It is important to remind the Teachers now, for those of you who have been speaking to our children about how “wrong this is” based on your feelings or disagreements with where this is heading – your PERSONAL ideologies and feelings don’t belong in the classroom or in the ears of children. Your personal ideologies and feelings about current events, civil action, or the state of our Nation – are not curriculum to be taught, promulgated, and weaponized in the households of this community. It’s also a hypocritical stance to take when legislation and policy has positioned itself to allow the involvement of IL students in demonstrations and civil actions, and have allowed this to be potential curricula for our students going forward- following the BLM and many other protests that were occurring just last year. If you believe that civil action taken in conjunction with peaceful demonstration – in a manner that utilizes the due process of law, is WRONG and are telling your students that, you are a HYPOCRITE. If you have been speaking to the minors who have been entrusted to you and allowing your emotions to control your reactions within the classroom – you are doing your students a DISSERVICE.

In a request near the end of summer I received both the results of the Teachers RTL survey as well as the Parents RTL survey. Many of you already have heard at the prior board meetings that a majority of the parents who responded in the community did so with a preference for “parent choice” on an “individual” basis. Many teachers also responded against masks in their survey responses. 

What the parent might be appalled by, like myself, is the number of teachers whose responses included that children and staff who are vaccinated with an EUA COVID-19 vaccine – should be treated differently than those who remained unvaccinated. To me, this was a surprising population of our employed teachers advocating for a form of health segregation within this district and I find it abhorrent. Teacher RTL Survey FOIA.  As equally abhorrent to me, was the response of one TCUSD Employee to a requested email asking about “verification” of vaccination at that time. Email FOIA.

Parents should be asking to know from our local districts, what online systems they have access to that allow them to verify the vaccination status of students without the parents of these minors having to supply their health documentation directly, and whether this “ties” in with Title 77 and the July 31st registry report amendments that went into effect in Illinois on July 16th, 2021. Parents should be researching the material that was slated in “Obamacare” that paved the road for this to be possible. For the parents here, I am not legally versed enough to specify, but I would direct you my mention here, and specifically to Title 77 section 689.90 as it applies to your children and their providers. What do we know about HIPAA, and are we abusing this under the guise of “Emergency Declarations.” Parents should be requesting information from their schools on Culturally Responsive Teaching vs. Critical Race Theory, what the differences are between the two if any or if the name is differentiated be “more digestible” by the public. Parents should be requesting what curricula if any their Districts are utilizing to implement these things, and in what timeframe they WILL be implementing them if they are not already.

Each of our Board Members and other public servants have taken Oaths of Office. The IL Oath was amended I believe in 2018 for educators to take some of the prioritization away from the “Constitution.” Public Servants take Oaths, to defend the constitution which has given all of us the right to discuss these things openly and with the freedom of a born American. FOIA Oaths of Office BOE & Oath of Office Regional Superintendent 22 states as of this morning 9/28/2021 have filed Extraordinary Writs, Writs of Mandamus, with their state supreme courts against their Governors – who also take Oaths of Office to exercise lawful service by the Constitution and to protect and defend that constitution. (NOTE: this is now 41+ states that have filed) These writs of mandamus and additional supporting affidavits by citizens of each state, which are sworn testimony, operate to ask state supreme courts to COMPEL and hold accountable, those Governors who are abusing their authority and breaking their Oaths. Should the state supreme courts fail, state groups are prepared with next steps in the process.

Your IL Governor and AG Raoul were expected to respond to the IL Writ by October 1st. When read, 7 IL Justices will vote. *Update: Justices voted down the IL Supreme Court Writ of Mandamus, and upon denial/rejection did not provide a reason or feedback. This seems A-typical, but has set the motion for moving to SCOTUS. As of 10/15/2021 48 states have filed Writs of Mandamus in their states. Aspects of your AG’s website have been “down for the count” since I believe May of 2021 – the FOIA online portal, the OMA complaint online portal, the AG’s email…due to a “cyber hack” with no ETA on when things will be back up and running.  These are all the typical “avenues” us “commoners” as parents and community stakeholders have to hold accountability at first glance. You are now only given the option to send snail mail, with no ETA on turnarounds due to volume. At one point in August (I haven’t followed up since) it appeared the webpage address to locate the mailing address for FOIA requests and other complaints to the AG was also inaccessible. Open Meetings Act Requirements

I have seen the discussion of Teachers and community implying that those “Freedom Fighters” are selfish for continuing to speak about the infringements of rights that are taking place. I’ve seen the virtue signaling, the division and blame, and the statements of the Biden Administration that this is a “pandemic of the unvaccinated.” The President of “Unity,” single handedly aiming for division and shame which is at best, misguided – please review the 9/17/2021 FDA panel for NOT advocating to approve the boosters, and thank you to all of those in the Health Community, Scientists, and Whistleblowers who continue to distribute the data from Israel and other overseas Nations that are NOT widely distributed by American Media. I would advise the community to research what countries have begun “ending” their vaccination programs, what countries are not (like Australia, pray for them), and the data that has been abundantly coming out of Israel for the past several months (they lead in the vaccination program for percentages fully vaccinated) Iceland, and Denmark. See now, the data from Vermont, Maine, and two other states (highest percentages EUA vaccinated in the US). I would URGE the community to research in their states (such as MO) legislation/policy/statues- what “defines” a fully vaccinated individual. How many believe that “fully vaccinated” was their two-dose vaccination? What would happen if “fully vaccinated” are now defined as “unvaccinated” because they haven’t received a booster? Is this located anywhere in legislation or policy and defined? *Update: An FOIA has been sent to the IDPH for requesting record of this information + others today 10/11/2021

I want to highlight the industrial hygienists who have been speaking out about HVAC improvements and ventilation systems and the efficacy in comparison to full-time use of medical devices. The sworn affidavits of such individuals, like Mr. Petty, that discuss and provide the arguable science that those improvements would provide a higher level of efficacy and safety for both our students and our teachers –continue to mostly be ignored. Presentation 1 & Presentation 2 These same individuals and the organizations they work for are often and historically used by Hospitals (and other corporations) to teach THEM the most effective science for mitigating bacteria and viruses. Why now, despite their OSHA experience, and prior utilization of such industry – are they being ignored? *FOIA to Governor’s office regarding OSHA sent today 10/11/2021

Parents should be asking Triad, why they have prioritized the budgeted items from their ESSER 1 and ESSER II application submissions – rather than being willing to discuss ALTERNATIVE mitigations. In a request on the Triad Districts HVAC systems, a September 3rd, 2021, 10-year-inspection outlines the violations we currently have as a district, the failing HVAC system components, and those components that are phased out by the EPA – but currently are being used by us. WHY is it that we are unable to have THAT discussion? Your community, your parents, your teachers, your constituents – for 18 months have mostly all been reasonable with implementing the ONE solution narrative that has been occurring nationally. *Update: Of the 3+ million in funding TCUSD#2 is receiving, ESSER III outlines that funds will be used for ventilation improvements. TCUSD#2 spent just over 6K it appears, on improving ventilation for the locker room. That is the only improvement made or addressed with these funds.  Parents should be asking what if any of the ASHRAE recommended actions were taken and what were the costs of those actions?  As a District that prides itself in Leadership and Academics – why have we not led the way with our rightful “local control” and sought recommendation or feedback on alternatives like this from one of the several, well established and experienced consultants in the Metro East region for Industrial Hygiene and Engineering?

It is not unfathomable after these 18 months, to speculate and see the probability of the American culture of Freedom being stripped if this is allowed to continue. We are spoken about by requested Teacher survey responses, as if we are “uneducated” and individuals cannot comprehend how WE don’t understand the “science.” Most everyone who continues to come and speak – has for 18 months been willing to follow the “one” science narrative. The same ones you are saying these things about – have been willing to mask up, mask their kids, work around virtual learning, and choose resilience despite the consequences. At what point do you consider it UNSELFISH to begin questioning if there are better and more effective alternatives?

At what point is it not portrayed as “selfishness” to stand up and say we should be looking for better solutions, that are less damaging, and are NOT a threat to basic human rights? Why is it considered selfish, to sit here and say we are willing to have those conversations and we are willing to find compromise – but neither side should be willing to compromise the foundations of our freedom and rights at the most basic level. FORCING people by cornering them with their employment or otherwise to INJECT something into their bodies is an absolute threat at the BASIC level. Why is the community not discussing the developments by a major law firm, clearly outlining that the American “vax’s” right now are all still EUA, and the FDA only approved Comirnaty – which is seemingly NOT available in the United States currently, under such label.  Should you choose to participate in CV19 vax, I would advise that you request and verify the label, as such. *FOIA sent to IDPH about this today 10/11/2021

As I stated in a prior letter to the Board and Administration, science has never been arbitrary. I gave several examples, although they are easily found in abundance for anybody who wishes to search them out – in which the science CHANGED over generations. If science wasn’t questioned, pregnant women would still be given X-rays. If science wasn’t questioned, we would still have DDT. Proven throughout history: “science” when first questioned has led to the shame, smear, and attacking of the individuals who dared to challenge it. Yet, we are sitting here today treating each other as if those who ARE questioning the “science” are just ignorant, stupid, or “orange-man cult followers” and “anti-V.” Has it struck you at all that there are scientists and physicians alike who are questioning THAT science with OTHER science? That has ALWAYS been the case in the field of science. Have we forgotten the ability as a society to engage in completely open and honest discourse, without demeaning the other side and labeling them to justify writing them off and affirming our own ideologies? If a discussion about these things offends you to the point of derogatory remarks – as I have seen in my requests and throughout the community– then I would capitulate on the idea and propose that perhaps it is you who is not as educated as you may believe. Open discourse is necessary to our Republic. It is a VITAL and Healthy requirement to a strong and successful Republic.

To the constituents who generalize entire groups of individuals based on the actions or elevated emotions of a few – you as well do a disservice to us all. Your misrepresentation by making statements as fact, as opposed to positioning a question or train of thought, is unbecoming. It should be evident that many amazing members of our community on both sides of this aisle believe they are trying to do what is best to preserve and protect what we have left.

To the parents, I would encourage you to continue to show up (no matter how discouraging), to be involved, to provide oversight and to ask the challenging questions – like the budgeting and legalities of our COVID relief funds received in the district and their potential uses. This week AG Garland has asked the DOJ/FBI to get involved upon the request of the National Association of School Boards. Parents labeled as “domestic terrorists?” Yet we have state Boards of Education responding in disagreement to AG Garland’s attack on parents. State School Board Associations’ Responses to the NSBA Letter – Parents Defending Education Perhaps the community should be asking their local Police Departments what they think about being brought to the school board meetings as of late? What do they think about being put into the position of escorting parents out?

I heard a man speak at the board meeting last week about the shamefulness of some parents in our Board Meetings since June. The irony of his statements and overdramatization to virtue signal the community is that there have only been two instances of note, one in which a grandparent became passionate and somewhat disruptive verbally at the board meeting held at Silver Creek Elementary, and one in which a handful of parents were removed from the THS cafeteria at the request of administration (who made the final decision and asked our PD to do so) and instead placed in the hallway. That means, they were allowed to remain in the building with the cafeteria doors open to still HEAR the meeting but weren’t allowed in the same room. In the first instance, one PD was at the meeting. In the second instance, three. At the next meeting (last week) where this man spoke, there were 6 or 7 PDs pulled from their shifts (you are the taxpayers) to attend this meeting. There has been no violence; there have been no threats of violence at these meetings. THERE HAS at times, been outbursts of emotion on the rare occasion by parents who are fed up and want to see people REMOVED from the Board, or otherwise. This has happened twice since June. Most parents who are taking the time and effort to show up, have been there in peace.

In this same meeting, with the man who spoke to shame those who have been attending nearly every meeting since June (Note: to the man who spoke, where have you been?) the TEA showed up in full force – teachers who have not been seen attending most meetings, finally showed in a coordinated effort with impeccable timing, likely due to the impending litigations taking place and an increase in UNION pressure. As the man chastised the parents who have concerns, I point out – nobody had to be escorted to the hallway, nobody made threats, nobody spoke condescendingly to your board and administrators despite the heightened tensions.

Your public smears are just that, public smears full of hypocrisy and intentional illusions.

How many teachers, board members, or administrators have been out and about recently at events like the Italian Fest in Collinsville, IL or out to the local bars, or dining – mask less, posting about their excursions on social media with commentary like “Pandemic Proof?” Perhaps the community should be asking about these things. How many teachers who attended with the TEA are in opposition to the mandates, but have remained silent or have weighed their options in FEAR of the potential for losing their jobs, their pensions, their students – by not giving their compliance to either scenario? How many teachers HAVE in fact been leaving their local Teachers Unions because their Unions are FAILING to do their jobs and stand up for their members? Filing Grievances, or otherwise? How many Teachers in Unions have been surveyed about the mandates, but the Unions opted to represent the minority percentage? (I’m looking at YOU Highland.) Perhaps there are some of you, among the others, who are attending house parties and events with your colleagues and children who have even an iota of understanding and gut reaction to KNOWING that what’s being done in private, whether it slips through the cracks of social media or not, is hypocritical to the demands and façade we are continuing in our schools.

As an additional note, the ESSER I and ESSER II application submissions/documentation, are now posted to the district website under Business and Finances. The .pdf files located in the Business and Finance section of our TCUSD website show as follows (.pdf Javascript metadata):

ESSER I .pdf – created date: 2021-09-24 3:35 pm, modify date: 2021-09-24 5:26 pm

ESSER II .pdf – created date: 2021-09-24 3:36 pm, modify date: 2021-09-24 5:28 pm

The request first made for these documents was September 9th. The date of request fulfilled was 09/15/2021-9/22/2021.

In other words (on the topic of transparency), these documents were made available after a request was made and fulfilled. ESSERIII Cain Metadata  The discussion on these topics for the first time more in depth– took place at the September board meeting last week. Parents and Community: Learn how to utilize Freedom of Information Act requests. They are your right, and the right of the public – a resource and tool for oversight and accountability BY the PUBLIC.

Why would I ever use the Illinois Freedom of Information Act? Specific reasons may vary, but basically, the answer is this: to find out more about the functions and operations of government, enabling you to make more-informed decisions and hold government more accountable – all of which are vital to a healthy democracy

FOIA Guide: foia guide.pdf (frcfr.org)

5 ILCS 140/1 (FOIA: https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=85

It is time you re-educate yourself on the FOIA process and other local, state and federal lawfare. It is TIME and has been TIME to be sending these requests for public information and oversight to entities like your IDPH, Your Districts, the FDA, CDC, NIH, Mayors, Governors, Attorney Generals, USDA and others.

To the Board, I would request that you finally act on holding a session for questions and answers – transparently. In closing to all of you – now is certainly the last possible time for you to stand up and remember your Oaths of Office. It is my hope that this full statement qualifies as positive reinforcement for your understanding of the definition of “chutzpah.” 

Thank you for your time.

Rachel Ball

Other FOIAs to List here:

FOIA RB 9-30-2021 Disease – Insurance Triad Response(c)

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