BOE Speech-Covid Testing

We come before you tonight as members of a community that is deeply fractured. The past 18 months have shaken us all to our core, and we acknowledge that no decision made during this period has been easy. But we should also acknowledge that not every decision is being made in the best interest of children. Families are struggling. What began as whispers of hurt amongst struggling parents has grown to a roar.

We are not a small minority. We are community members. We are educators. We are administrators. We are parents. We love our children. We advocate for them. And we are here tonight to tell you that we resent and wholly reject the narrative that we are anti-mask and anti-vax. We believe in a parent and guardian’s right to choose what is best for their whole child.
We are only better together when we are doing what we expect our children to learn – asking the questions needing to be asked to ensure the right decision is being made.

Tonight WE ask: What is the end game? At what point do you, as elected officials, start asking the questions that the community has begun to roar? When does JeffCo Public Schools take back authority over education?

Tonight- I implore you – the time is now.

I am here tonight to say unequivocally, on behalf of thousands of Jeffco students….the testing policy to be implemented on September 7th is WRONG. It’s wrong because science states that vaccinated students can also spread virus. It’s wrong because it creates an equity issue with access to testing. It’s wrong because it’s forcing families to reveal private medical information, putting family decisions at the forefront of peer relationships. It’s wrong because parents shouldn’t blindly trust a third party to administer testing to their minor child on a weekly basis. It’s wrong because children have earned and deserve the right to attend school and participate in activities normally, without the arm of one appointed official attempting to sideline them in ways that are NOT happening in other counties. We cannot sit back and allow this to happen when children’s mental health is at stake. Sports save lives. Government teaches leadership. Choir and band promote the arts and weave beauty into our world. Speech and debate teach our kids how to properly communicate ideas and opinions. These are all necessary and important activities that promote the growth of the whole child. Dawn Comstock, who uses “I” in Public Orders, has unilaterally decided that it is okay for kids to risk missing these activities for yet another year. This should not be acceptable to anyone, and the fact that the Board of Education has not questioned her publicly is unacceptable.

This is wrong. We all know it’s wrong. I ask you tonight, please stand up for the whole child. Let teachers get back to teaching, and coaches get back to coaching. Just say NO to this testing policy that will only serve to punish our children and drive a further wedge in a community that is fresh out of resilience.

We are the adults. We protect our children. We cannot continue to let appointed officials make decisions about what is best for our children’s education. It’s is not fair, and it is not right.

It is time for Jeffco to put the Kids First.