Parents who have been watching their kids go to school with their faces covered since the beginning of the school year know how frustrating it is. Kids in masks sit in class socially distanced, barely able to communicate with themselves or with their teachers.
Parents' groups like Moms for Liberty have been working hard to get these mandates overturned, and once they started organizing, they found that there were so many parents who wanted to do something but didn't know where to start. Even when parents go to school board meetings to tell administrators and educators that their kids need to be able to breathe freely and participate, parents are shut down both in person, and again online.
Since the pandemic inspired virtual and remote school board meetings, many of these local meetings are broadcast live on YouTube. YouTube, however, has been censoring these meetings by deleting them outright when the content runs afoul of their "medical information policy."
The Georgia mother whose testimony was struck from YouTube was seen pleading with the school board to release her child and all children from the mask mandate. She said that if the school board actually cared about the social and emotional health of the children they are meant to serve they would "end the mask requirement tonight." Her name is Courtney Taylor, and she's Moms for Liberty's chapter chair for Gwinnett County.
"We have three vaccines," Taylor said, "every adult in the state of Georgia that wants that vaccine is eligible to get it right now, and every one of us knows that young children are not affected by this virus." This is undoubtedly what YouTube was objecting to.
Barbara Abboud from Nassau County, New York, knows what this mom from Georgia is talking about. When she heard about Moms for Liberty, she started a chapter in her area. It wasn't long before the Facebook group she started had 1,500 members, and got so big that another group broke off from it, for Suffolk County.
Abboud said that a big part of what got her involved with Moms for Liberty was that "school boards, educators and administrators seem to think that parental rights end at the classroom door, and that's not the case." Abboud's mission is "not just on unmasking kids, but on the bigger picture of bringing parental rights back to schools."
Masks and vaccines are both medical issues, she said, and medical issues are the purview of parents, not schools. As regards the vaccination sites set up in schools where kids as young as 12 can opt to get the vaccine without parental consent, Abboud asked "When did we decide 12 year olds can make medical decisions for themselves?"
Abboud's kids have been having an incredibly tough time with masking. Her 6th grader hasn't been able to meet any of the new kids this year. "My oldest, this is her first year in a new school," she said. A bunch of local elementary schools fed into one middle school, and this year that has been incredibly isolating.
Her daughter told her "Mom, I don't know who anyone is, there are all new kids, and you can't make any friends because they're all masked and if you turn and talk to anyone you get yelled at for not socially distancing."
Abboud's daughter is now fully remote, not because Abboud is afraid of the virus, she decidedly isn't, but because the school conditions were just so alienating to her.
Moms for Liberty launched on January 1, founded by Tina Descovich and Tiffany Justice. Descovich told The Post Millennial that she and Justice were both former school board members in Florida through November 2020. She said they sat through the school closures, and saw that parents didn't know how to advocate for for their kids, both in terms of curriculum and getting kids back into the classroom, with their faces free.
"School boards weren't listening," she said, "and weren't representing parents." Descovich and Justice "knew that they could step up and lead."
When asked if she thought this year had been a wake-up call for parents politically, and she said that it was, but added "I hate to call it political, it's personal." Descovich said that parents have "seen what's being taught, and what the balance of power is."
"Parents are waking up for the first time in decades," she said. "We've been sending our kids off to school every morning, thinking they're getting a quality education. COVID has pulled back the 'educurtain' and it's not pretty. That's why these groups are rising up." Moms for Liberty had the goal of having 50 chapters in their first year—already they have more than 30 and it's only May.
The Georgia school board video isn't the only one that Descovich heard of as being censored. A North Carolina parents group went to school board meeting and spoke out against critical race theory. YouTube pulled the video. It's since been reinstated after the school board had to petition to get it back up, citing their legal requirement to have a public record of their meetings—their only public record was on YouTube.
Descovich believes that the reason for the censorship is because the tech companies have their own agenda. "They don't want to hear the voice of opposition. They feel threatened, and they have the power to shut you down," she said. And it's not just tech companies, but school boards. Descovich and Abboud both said that they will be paying attention to upcoming school board elections, and so will the moms and parents they've organized.
So will Taylor in Georgia. "We elected the five of you," she told the board. "We chose you to make difficult decisions for our children. We chose you to make decisions that would be in our children't best interest.
"And forcing 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9-year-old little children to cover their noses and their mouths, where they breathe, for 7 hours a day, every day for the last nine months, for a virus that you know doesn’t affect them, that is not in their best interest. This has to stop. Defend our children. My 6-year-old can't come up here and say this. It has to stop. Take these off of our children."