Chip Brown, an Alabama lawmaker from Mobile, just doesn’t get it. Alabama is among the states where the majority of people haven’t gotten the coronavirus vaccine, where greater than 90 percent of COVID-19 patients on ventilators are unvaccinated, and where there are no available ICU beds for incoming patients with life-threatening COVID infections or any other malady.
New cases and deaths are on the upswing, yet only one in three school systems across the state have made facial masks mandatory for students and staff.
Brown might’ve taken an initiative to err on the side of prudence, perhaps filing legislation that would mandate masks in all public schools, and/or require all adult staff and faculty to be vaccinated. Such a move might mitigate the spread of the virus and its variants.
Instead, Brown pre-filed legislation that undermines the efforts of the state’s public health officials by giving parents of students attending mandatory masking schools a mechanism to opt out, and their children into a potential petri dish without a face mask, increasing the potential of their infection, or of their infecting others.
“To me it’s a parental rights bill,” Brown told al.com. “By mandating something on children, we’re basically telling the parents their supervision of their children doesn’t matter. So, I think it goes back to who’s raising the child. And I think in the end, parents should have the right to opt out, if they want to opt out.”
Here’s another perspective: Alabama law (Title 16, Section 28) requires that youngsters between the ages of six and 17 attend school. Should the state abdicate its responsibility to provide a safe and healthy environment for the students it demands attend school?
Rep. Brown would better serve the people of Alabama by working to defeat the coronavirus pandemic rather than pander to those who may doubt its threat, severity, or even its existence.