Serving Franklin County, WA

Parents ready to "take back" schools

Rally set to tell Gov. Inslee what parents think of masking students

Parents of public school students in the 9th Legislative District have had enough of coronavirus-related mandates from Olympia.

Shutter schools, curtail sports, wear masks, limit field trips and restrict access to graduation.

Those actions have not been embraced here. And neither has Gov. Jay Inslee’s renewed call for all public school students to remain masked for the upcoming 2021-22 school year.

Area parents are pushing back.

This week, led by a group from Fairfield, many parents are expected to protest the governor and his mandate to continue to muzzle students during the “Take Our Schools Back Rally” at Liberty High School. The rally is set for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 12, at the school on East Spangle Waverly Road, about three miles east of Spangle.

Organizers said parents and community leaders from across the region will demand the unmasking of public school students. They will protest the over-reaching edicts out of Olympia.

Rally-goers will have the ears of at least the three 9th Legislative District leaders – Republicans Sen. Mark Schoesler of Ritzville, and Reps. Joe Schmick of Colfax and Mary Dye of Pomeroy. All are expected to be in attendance. The three represent a large swath of Eastern Washington wheat country that includes Adams, Asotin, Franklin, Garfield, southern Spokane and Whitman Counties.

If you’re one of those parents who believes decisions about local education should be made at the local level – as is required in the state Constitution – you should attend the rally.

The primary driver of this rally is Gov. Jay Inslee’s unilateral edict that everyone on a public school campus – especially students, who are generally not severely affected by the coronavirus – will be required to wear a mask. Indeed, the organizers are calling on everyone to bring signs and anything else to “support unmasking our kids.”

Clearly, covering the faces of local students is not something that sits well with Eastern Washington parents and residents.

Sen. Schoesler told me Monday that parents who contact him are overwhelmingly demanding a say in the education of their children. That say includes making decisions on whether their child should have to wear a mask.

Let’s hope enough parents and residents turn out to make sure Olympia – and especially Gov. Jay Inslee – hears them. They have already been heard by Schoesler, Schmick and Dye, who are still listening.

It’s good to see parents organize in opposition to unconstitutional control of schools from Olympia. Parents, not far away politicos, should manage their children’s education. That management can be made within the family unit or through local school board elections.

The fact that those in Olympia, such as Gov. Inslee or state Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdahl, are not listening to parents is troubling. And while this rally may perk up their ears a little, it’ll take a lot more just like it for those in Olympia to truly listen.

It’s definitely time for parents to “Take Our Schools Back” from powerbrokers and politicos on the other side of the Cascades.

— Roger Harnack is the publisher of Free Press Publishing. Email him at [email protected].

Author Bio

Roger Harnack, Publisher

Author photo

Roger Harnack is the co-owner/publisher of Free Press Publishing. Having grown up Benton City, Roger is an award-winning journalist, photographer, editor and publisher. He's one of only two editorial/commentary writers from Washington state to ever receive the international Golden Quill. Roger is dedicated to the preservation of local media, and the voice it retains for Eastern Washington.


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