State Senator Jonathan Dismang (R – Beebe) is trying to help Governor Asa Hutchinson pass his mask mandate for school children. The mandate would be imposed through local school boards. The Governor pretends this is the conservative thing to do because the decision is to be made at the local level. No, the conservative thing to do is to let parents decide whether their child wears a mask. As for shifting the decision to school boards the intent of this plan is to convince legislators to vote for it by making school board members the scapegoats for making the final decision.
Senator Dismang is trying to rescue the Governor’s sinking plan with the argument – letting local school boards impose a mask mandate gives schools an option other than having to close their schools during a COVID outbreak. The argument is if the school only has the option to close such a closure will disrupt families and their livelihoods.[i]
Dismang presents a FALSE choice. In the event of an outbreak, the choice does not have to be between closure and a mask mandate.
There is another choice right now without a mask mandate. If there is an outbreak the school can recommend to parents that their child wear a mask and the child’s parents can decide. And, the school can offer to help the child stay masked, if the parent wants the schools’ help.
Don’t buy into Senator Dismang’s false choice.
You need to let your Senator and Representative know your opinion now on Asa’s plan to impose a mask mandate by making school boards his scapegoats. Special Session begins 10:00 AM, Wednesday August 4.
[i] Tweets by Senator Jonathan Dismang on July 31, 2021, “Currently, public schools are facing a singular option if and when a COVID-19 outbreak occurs: Close and wait. With this being the only solution, families and their livelihoods will be undoubtedly altered. This disruption and its ripple has the potential to derail advances we have made as a state to get back to “normal.” I am open to adjusting Act 1002 to allow local school boards to implement mask requirements as a possible alternative to avoid school closure.”