Anne Lutz Fernandez: School Covid mask rules have sparked parent-teacher violence. We can’t ignore it.
Anne Lutz Fernandez is a high school English teacher. In this piece from NBC Think, she looks at the rising tide of disrespect aimed at teachers, culminating in a new wave of physical and verbal attacks.
Protestors burning masks, ripping masks off educators’ faces and hurling obscenities have disrupted and derailed education board meetings nationwide this summer as local officials have sought to allow in-person learning despite a new wave of Covid-19 cases powered by the delta variant of the coronavirus.
These protests are taking place at town halls and school parking lots, but they have their genesis elsewhere. They’ve been sparked and fanned by right-wing media personalities with national platforms and by politicians and social media agitators who’ve taken to calling school mask mandates “child abuse” — and the teachers who support them child abusers. Protests have reached a fever pitch as the topic dominates school board agendas alongside and often intermingled with issues like the manufactured panic over critical race theory.