Vaccine and mask mandates are being hotly debated. Change Links takes no editorial position, but is here reprinting two contrasting views.
LAUSD Board Rescinds and Delays Enacting Punitive Measures Against Unvaccinated Covid-19 Students
By the Children’s Health Defense – California Chapter Team
Tuesday December 14, 2021, proved to be a powerful day in our collective fight against unjust mandates, illegal vaccines and medical discrimination. More importantly, today’s outcome represented the power of the people to unite together, hold the line, and reclaim the sovereignty and bodily autonomy that is ours.
All but one LAUSD Board member (McKenna, opposed) voted to rescind their decision to enact punitive measures upon its more than 34,000 unvaccinated COVID-19 students, staving off the January 10, 2021 initial deadline for compliance, which was Agenda Item 8 in today’s Board Meeting: “Delay the Transfer of Students Not in Compliance with the Vaccination Requirement to Online Independent Study Instruction; and Application of Student and Employee Vaccine Policy to All LAUSD Authorized Charter Schools.”
“We are thrilled with this outcome, but this is the first major battle victory in a long war,” cautioned the legal team from Children’s Health Defense – CA (CHD-CA) and Protection of the Educational Rights of Kids (PERK), comprised of Rita Barnett-Rose, Jessica Barsotti and Nicole Pearson. “Our lawsuit is still ongoing, and we plan to fight this all the way. We haven’t yet had a hearing on the merits, and although the judge initially ruled against us and declined to grant our preliminary injunction, we still won today because the LAUSD Board voted to rescind the vaccine deadline.”
Massive Public Support: Over 34,000 Families Held the Line
The official letter issued by LAUSD Board states “high vaccination rates” are the reason the Board decided to suspend its deadline. However, it appears unlikely that, all of the sudden, over the course of a few days, high vaccination rates changed the Board’s mind. Our CHD-CA and PERK legal team believes “the Board voted in our favor because over 34,000 families held the line. This is about them, their courage and their commitment to staying strong in their beliefs, no matter what.”
This massive public support began last week, at the initial hearing of CHD-CA and PERK vs. LAUSD. Over 150 people showed up inside the courtroom. Up to 100 more couldn’t be seated and waited outside. “We presented over 131 declarations from parents, and 7 declarations from experts, showing not only the harm of these illegal vaccines, but also the harm and unconstitutionality of excluding students from in-person schooling,” declared the legal team.
Today’s support was even more impressive. Amidst a bevy of honking cars and onlookers cheering, “over 300 people came out today in Los Angeles’s first winter storm, with umbrellas, signs and megaphones in hand. We surrounded the LAUSD meeting, chanting and uniting in peaceful protest,” declared the CHD-CA and PERK legal team.
First Major Victory Battle in a Long War
The legal team plans to file an Amended Complaint that adds additional claims, some of which may include fighting against existing discriminatory practices such as requiring COVID-19 testing of unvaccinated students, but not of vaccinated students, a practice that does not hold scientific merit or legitimacy. A trial date has not yet been set.
Had the LAUSD Board not rescinded its January 10, 2022 deadline, over 34,000 LAUSD students would have been sent to the City of Angels, a sub-par remote learning option that is barely handling its current enrollment. Not only would the system have crashed under such a sudden influx, but massive numbers of students would also have left the system entirely to pursue alternative educational options.
It should be noted that Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the head of Children’s Health Defense, has been cited as a major source of disinformation aboout vaccines in general and COVID-19 in particular. Also the headline is misleading, as the LAUSD Board of Education only postponed implementation of the mandate it did not rescind it, and there was no punitive enforcement ever involved. Finally, 34,000 students represent barely 5% of the 600,000+ K-12 students in LAUSD, the second largest school district in the country, not to mention 200,000+ adult and young adult (minor) students in the district’s Division of Adult & Career Education, or the health concerns of 30,000+ teachers and a large number of other school personnel. There is also a question about where these folks stand on all the other pressing questions facing the district and public education in general, including privatization and charters, Students Deserve concerns about getting police armed with military weapons out of the schools, meaningful ethnic studies requirements, adequate funding, and a host of related issues, including the need for nurses staffing all schools on a full time basis.
We are reprinting the position paper of the Grassroots Community Radio Coalition about similar issues that have arisen at KPFK and within Pacifica radio in general.
Grassroots Community Radio Coalition on the Difference between Conspiracism and Skepticism
The COVID pandemic has underlined the troubling tendency within Pacifica to conflate skepticism about government and corporate power and institutions with right-wing conspiracism. Right wing groups for years have tried to influence and infiltrate left and progressive movements with antisemitic, anti-communist and apparently “anti-elitist” political views. This has intensified with fear of both the COVID pandemic and the measures and medicines proposed to combat it. Fear is an effective organizing emotion for racist and reactionary “solutions” to complex social and material problems and issues.
Skepticism about Big Pharma, and about the white supremacist nature of both governmental, medical and corporate institutions and systems of power in the United States are all well justified by history. These range from experimentation on Puerto Rican women in the development of the oral contraceptive, to faulty medical studies that do not study the effects of a medication on women, to the infamous Tuskegee “experiments” on Black men with STDs when effective medications were already available, to the use of smallpox infected blankets to spread disease among Native peoples, and to forced sterilizations of women prisoners here in CA in recent years. US bioweapons research must be condemned and ended. There may be many valid reasons for particular individuals and groups to decide not to get vaccinated with any of the vaccines for COVID currently on offer in the U.S.
But into those legitimate concerns have come mostly right wing and racist forces to promote false claims that either COVID was a hoax or that COVID was a plot to depopulate the earth; false claims that mRNA vaccines transform your DNA; false claims that the vaccines contain “nano-particle robots,” false claims that mandating masks indoors, or requiring employees who deal with the public to either vaccinate or agree to frequent testing, is part of a literally diabolical plot to strip people of all their rights. KPFK has unfortunately often been a transmission mechanism for such views in the name of freedom of speech. As the result of an undiscriminating appetite for any allegedly anti-establishment viewpoint, it has sanitized and accepted extreme right wing and antisemitic political expressions. KPFK used to air the content of a woman, Desiree Green, who claimed to be channeling an extraterrestrial alien who dictated to her long sections of the antisemitic Czarist forgery called “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.” This type of broadcasting, in which Pacifica becomes a platform and amplifier of views that are being ballyhooed on Fox News, or by reactionary associations of police and prison guards, is inconsistent with the Pacifica mission.
The Grassroots Community Radio Coalition is opposed to such acceptance or distribution of false, racist, and/or anti-communist views in the name of freedom of speech or under a gloss of anti-elitist or anti-establishment dissent. We understand that there are many unresolved questions about COVID and its treatment and prevention, but these cannot and should not be used to equate mandates for wearing facial covering indoors with the Nazi genocide of European Jewry or Roma and mass incarceration and murder of communists and other opponents. There is plenty of room for healthy debate, which is essential to the scientific process. That process is based in part on mechanisms for peer review, challenges, and falsification of theories. The search for truth in material and social matters of course requires and depends on debate and contestation. Policies must be crafted that allow for individual exceptions and accommodations. But these factors should not become a mechanism for allowing racist right wingers masquerading as New Age practitioners, or antisemitic fearmongers presenting themselves alternatively as skeptics or “true patriots” to make hay as opportunists. People who are righteously skeptical of the propaganda of the state and the corporate owning class should not fall prey to the equally dangerous and sophisticated propaganda and disinformation campaigns of neo-fascist elements within the US or internationally.