Life is full of intersections, choices, and moments. It’s what we do with those moments that will define who we are. It was the week of June 21st, and my family and I were on vacation in Florida. It was a late evening, and we met another family on the beach – our kids started playing as if they had been friends forever. Our family of 4 and their family of 5 experienced the simple joys of fellowship and friendship without restriction. Simply put – our kids got to be kids.
Over the course of the week, conversations ensued, and the mothers quickly connected and found out they are fellow educators – both from the mid-west but different states. As the kids grew closer, the conversations continued.
We had become acquaintances with a true patriot, father, leader, and legislative representative from another state. Of course, talking “shop” is the last thing anyone wants to do on vacation; however, it often focused on the impacts of COVID on our children. Through these conversations, I learned how differently our kids were being treated with COVID 19 restrictions or protocols.
Essentially – our kids are still bearing the burden of the imposed restrictions even after they have been lifted for adults, which lit a fire deep within my soul. This fire was already burning deep within my wife, who had seen the impact firsthand in her classroom and with our children.
Why should our children who are not eligible for a vaccine or whose parents choose not to get their children vaccinated out of fear of being held to a different standard?
With my background in emergency management, I toed the line because it was the right thing to do – at the time. However, it was through those moments that I watched my children play on the beach and just be kids to speak up. It was honestly the first time I put myself in their shoes as someone who worked on the front lines to manage this pandemic. I was BOLD – I chose to speak up for what was in the best interest of our children as we have moved into the recovery phase of this pandemic.
It was that intersection, choice, and moment that has accomplished the following in two weeks:
- Grown an online community of fellow TRIAD parents wanting a choice in their child’s healthcare to over 650.
- A local rally to show our support at the school board meeting.
- A web page development and establishment of the group www.speakforstudents.org
- Over 3,500 views of my open letter to the TRIAD school board, which the analytics show, most of them are from our area.
- Local and state leaders are speaking out for their desire to get out kids back to normal.
- Local media coverage of our movement.
- We are empowering other communities to start the same initiatives.
This week I look forward to sitting down with TRIAD administrators to discuss the COVID protocols for the 2021-2022 school year. We are grateful that the board and administration were BOLD in their actions last year by returning our kids to the classroom.
However, the movement continues. Each of you can #BeBold by protecting the rights of every parent, student, teacher, and staff member by advocating for local control and allowing each of us to be in charge of our healthcare and make the decision to mask or vaccinate without fear of retaliation.
These actions have all been accomplished in two weeks. Yet, as we come out of a holiday weekend that represents the freedoms our county stands for, I couldn’t be more proud of every parent, student, teacher, faculty, and staff member who has chosen to speak up and be bold.
It’s your turn to take advantage of the intersection, choices, and moments that have been presented to you. Our children are worth it! #BeBold #SpeakForStudents