My Child, My Choice

Dear School Board of District 300,

What a year we had last year right? Every school, every teacher, every student, had to overcome obstacles we’d never expect to face.

And thank Goodness it is over! We made it. We survived! But, now, it is time to make up for the lost instruction, the lost hours of classroom time, and ensure our 21-22 school year is the best one yet. You, as the school board, are now faced with more decisions regarding schools reopening, and I am writing you, in particular, of the mask requirement. Let’s be honest, you aren’t going to please everyone in every decision you make, but it is clear to me, that on this rule, you can.

Students can wear a mask if they prefer.

Student don’t need to wear a mask if they choose not to.

It can be that simple.

If a student can choose to kneel during our National Anthem, or refuse to participate in our Pledge of Allegiance, I, as a parent, should have a say on whether a piece of cloth must cover my child’s face. And I would dare anyone to argue that teaching or learning behind a mask is more effective than without.

Survey after survey was sent out last year, and even after 80% of families would choose an option, it was denied by the board. This is not right on any level. Again, I am sure good intentions were had, but a school board elected by district families, with salaries paid by our tax dollars should not be one sided, and district family’s opinions should not only be heard, but respected and taken into consideration on every decision.

Board members who are annoyed at differing opinions are not only poor examples to our children but disgraces to our community, and most likely, never set foot in an actual classroom to teach. I, on the other hand have.

With a degree in Education, a volunteer parent at the school, and active HSO board member, I know the politics that go on behind the scenes and the sense of empowerment some members have. Only those on the board that have been a teacher understand the true challenges teachers face every single day.

The board members that sit in front of you that have classroom experience know firsthand the struggle it is to reach your students. Keeping students engaged and making a classroom of strangers become a full-on family is never an easy task. Our teachers work twice as hard as most professionals, and teaching through masks gives only more unnecessary obstacles to overcome. The best teachers are those that teach with expression, and energy, and want to give high fives, or God Forbid, hugs to our students. Don’t take this away. Don’t underestimate the power a mask has on education.

All summer my children have attended camps, gone to theme parks, vacationed, played daily with friends at local parks, all unmasked, and their classroom and their school should not be an exception to that.

With all due respect, a board of education should focus on just that, education. Parents can make the decisions on what is best for their family’s health concerns. If a parent feels their child is best protected behind a mask, that parent has a right to mask their child. If a parent feels their child is best protected without a mask; then masks should not be required. Parents deserve the right to make those decisions. Give the parents a choice.

Lastly, I advocate for our teachers to have the same right. This is a public school, and teachers are paid by our tax dollars. I vote to allow teachers to teach without a mask, whether they are vaccinated or not. To mandate masks for unvaccinated educators and not for another because of a personal choice is unconstitutional in my opinion. Ask your families. I know most of us would not only support but encourage our teachers to be given the respect of a choice as well.

I appreciate your time, and sincerely hope you listen to the families in the community begging for our voices to be heard, and rights to be supported.


Tori Mikos

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