Attorney General Jason Miyares (R-VA), the first Latino in Virginia to take the office, delivers the goods for parents who want mandate-free schools in the state. And so is Governor Youngkin with his two executive orders on CRT and masks. For almost two years, distraught parents, labeled by some as “domestic terrorists,” have been waging multiple ongoing battles against mandates for masks and vaccines and the divisive CRT curriculum.
With Miyares as AG, Youngkin, and Sears filling the Governor and Lt. Governor seats, parents now have the legal buffer and executive orders to make their own choices. It is at times a poignant story that shows children caught in the tug-o-war between the parents struggling to protect them and the schools that continue to erode their liberties.
Too many American parents of school-age children ages 5 to 18 are desperately trying to reclaim their parental right to make appropriate choices. And in Virginia, too many school districts are not listening, and shockingly, many are still deliberately resisting the orders from the highest levels in the state.
Parent Speaks Up On School Defying Governor’s Executive Order Two
Donald Hoffman contacted UncoverDC early last week to explain that his boys, ages 15 and 17, were segregated at Woodgrove High School in Loudoun County from the rest of the students because they were not wearing masks. On Monday, Jan. 24, they were first segregated in the auditorium, and the next day the maskless were relegated to the school auxiliary gymnasium. The boys thought they were good to go because of the Governor’s Executive Order Two (EO).
“My sons went to Woodgrove HS today unmasked on Monday, the first day the new executive order began. They were held with 40 other maskless students in the auditorium and not allowed in class. I spoke with the Assistant Principal, Timothy Panagos. Mr. Panagos agreed that Executive Order #2 is the law, and he felt that this is the best compromise between the law and the orders of the Loudoun County. He also told me that those students that ‘comply’ will get 100 percent of their education and those that do not ‘comply’ will not.”
“Loudoun will not allow distance learning even though they just allowed it for snow days just a week earlier. This is a power trip,” continued Hoffman.
On the same day, Hoffman sent two letters to the Loudoun County School Board, one pleading with them to follow the Governor’s EO Number Two. The other, a letter with legal language reminding them of their “potential liability for mandating masks” in schools. The text of the first letter to the board is below:
“Today my two teenage sons were herded into an auditorium with about 40 other students, at Woodgrove High School, for exercising their constitutional rights. This is extremely disturbing and concerning. My sons have a constitutional right to choose whether they will wear a mask or not and are also protected by Governor Youngkin’s Executive Order #2.
The county has no authority or right to violate my childrens’ rights. The fact that the county would exercise punitive damages on students who exercise their constitutional rights is perverted and absolutely unethical. To segregate children, deny equal educational opportunities and bully a child for their legal decision of health is absolutely criminal!
My sons stated that they felt like Jews being herded by the Nazis. This is massively damaging to a developing mind!! We want our youth to trust the system, obey authority and stand up for your rights, but then your message of punishment for exercising legal rights is confusing to them.
I spoke with the Assistant Principal of Woodgrove HS and he advised me that he and the principal felt that segregation was the best compromise for them to obey the board (job security) and also “serve the children.” He stated that those 1600 students that chose to “comply” get the full benefits of education, while those that don’t “comply” choose to then have a very limited education. Punitive damages for exercising rights is illegal!!! Shame on all of you for damaging children’s psychological development! You all will be held accountable in court and in the voting polls.
What rational argument could you possibly have for this abusive treatment of children? If this was a transgender student or BLM event they would never be punished (or God forbid) segregated. Your double standards are obvious and disgusting.”
Hoffman’s second letter asserting school board liability was borrowed from an initiative to pause the vaccine mandate in a Maryland school until its issues were resolved. The initiative was spearheaded by a concerned parent, Middleton Evans.
UncoverDC contacted Evans to speak about his initiative. He said he consulted a local attorney to draft for parents “as neutral a letter as possible” for school boards to consider. His purpose was to address “a number of confusing and unresolved issues with these vaccine mandates.”
Evans’ letter moved the needle to pause the vaccine mandate for McDonough High School. In this private preparatory school, many parents fought unsuccessfully for months to remove the mandate. The text of Evans’ letter to the school board is below:
“Please allow this letter to serve as NOTICE to your institution and its managing partners of the intention of those injured by mask mandates, to pursue recourse for injuries sustained as the result of those mandates. There is a large amount [of] data supporting the damages caused by the wearing of masks. While manufacturers and distributors of these masks may be immune from liability, this protection does NOT extend to schools and small employers. It is with this in mind that we urge you to forward this letter to your risk management department with the following inquiries. This is for your protection as well as that of the students and employees!
1) Familiarize yourself with your potential liability for mandating masks at your institution. There is no protection for most schools and small private businesses at this time.
2) Check with your Risk Management Department and confirm whether your insurance policy covers you in the event of an adverse event?
3) Inquire as to whether they will cover the medical bills of your students and/or employees in the event of an adverse event?
4) Will they indemnify you against any judgments in litigation brought by injured parties?
5) Does your insurer pay for your legal defense?
We are requesting that you publish your findings to the parents of your institution in order to assist them in making full and informed consent to the requirements of your mask mandates. We are retaining a copy of this letter in the event that it be required in subsequent legal proceedings.”
Late Friday afternoon (Jan. 28), Hoffman received a disciplinary email from the Principal addressing the school’s masking policy and the consequences for non-compliance. Hoffman’s boys will be suspended from school on Feb. 2 if they do not comply. Hoffman believes the last sentence in the email, in particular, to be threatening to parents. “The last sentence,” stated the parent, “Is actually threatening the parents if they don’t help ‘fix’ their kids and it was sent late on a Friday when attorneys have left for the weekend,” leaving parents without recourse for Monday’s return to school.
The email from the principal in its entirety is captured below:
“Per our Superintendent’s message delivered to the LCPS community on Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022, at this time, masks are not optional for any individual who enters a LCPS school campus building. Information regarding our current 2021-2022 Mask and Mitigation Plan is available on the LCPS website.
According to Policy 8210: Introduction to Student Discipline,rules for behavior are provided at each school, as well as in the Student’s Rights and Responsibilities (SR&R) Handbook. Students should conduct themselves within the rules.
Policy 8210 also states that Loudoun County Public Schools is committed to utilizing Multi-Tiered Systems of Support and intervention strategies to promote positive and safe student behavior.
As part of these intervention strategies, the Sunday, Jan. 24, 2022 newsletter from our Superintendent explained the following steps to be taken when students arrive on campus and enter the school building without a mask:
Students who are not wearing a mask will be asked to wear one. If they do not have a mask, one will be provided to them. If a student refuses to wear a mask, staff will meet with the student and contact their parent/guardian to discuss and identify the reason the student will not comply. If non-compliance is related to a medical or financial need, the school-based team will develop a plan of action to support the student in following the requirement.
Beginning on Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2022, students who willfully continue to refuse to follow COVID mitigation measures as required by Loudoun County Public Schools will be suspended from school in relation to Violation of School Board Policy 8210, Introduction to Student Discipline, Section F. 2. Willful or continued disobedience of school rules and regulations or school personnel; 3. Defiance of the authority of any teacher, principal, or other person having authority in the school.
State law requires that each parent/guardian of a public school student assist the school in improving the student’s behavior as detailed in the “Student Rights and Responsibilities” booklet, found at https://www.lcps.org/students.
Principal, Woodgrove High School
Loudoun County Public Schools
Students at Woodgrove High School in Loudoun County, Virginia walk into school without masks even though the school district said it would defy Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s executive order making it optional.
— American Principles ???????? (@approject) January 24, 2022
At Woodgrove High School in Virginia, a teacher is caught on camera telling kids that they only get half of their lunch because they don't want to wear masks in school. pic.twitter.com/VyYA0tqAti
— ???? Queen ???? (@Stick_To_Jesus2) January 29, 2022
What Are Miyares And Youngkin Doing In Virginia?
Miyares and Glen Youngkin both beat Democrat incumbents in their races. Winsome Sears, also a Republican, won the Lt. Governor’s seat. Fulfilling their campaign promises, the trio is shaping up to be a trifecta that seems to be committed to the rule of law and parental freedom to make choices for their school children free of government overreach.
Right out of the gate, Miyares’ first opinion seeks to ensure that the state’s universities “can no longer mandate the COVID-19 jab as a condition for enrollment or in-person attendance.”
Woah! Thank you Attorney General Miyares.
Defeat the College Mandates! https://t.co/uUcj4APTmK
— American Homecoming (@dchomecoming) January 28, 2022
At the request of Governor Youngkin, Miyares wrote a three-page opinion on Jan. 26 stating that under Virginia law, specific opinion trumps the general. The Virginia General Assembly had on its books a statute specific to the required vaccinations for higher public institutions in the state and, therefore, that statute overrides any power the boards of visitors of public institutions of higher education to mandate the COVID-19 mRNA gene therapy for their students.
Miyares also states in the opinion that “states of emergency do not constitute a general grant or implication of expanded powers for entities that are expressly subject to the control of the General Assembly. Notably, the authority to require immunization during a public health emergency belongs to the State Health Commissioner.”
Pursuant to his four-page Jan. 15 Executive Order One (2022), Governor Youngkin has opened up an anonymous tipline for parents, teachers, and school staff to help them report K-12 schools for violations of students’ fundamental rights or for teaching Critical Race Theory (CRT). Any K-12 school teaching CRT violates the first executive order.
Executive Order One stresses the importance of classrooms free of “political indoctrination.” We should not, he writes, “tell children what to think, instead they should be taught how to think for themselves.”
“Education has life-shaping power, and our educational system should instill in Virginia students a love for lifelong learning to ensure that they become their own best teachers. We must enable our students to take risks, to think differently, to imagine, and to see conversations regarding art, science, and history as a place where they have a voice.
Political indoctrination has no place in our classrooms. The vast majority of learning in our schools involves imparting critical knowledge and skills in math, science, history, reading and other areas that should be non-controversial. Inherently divisive concepts, like Critical Race Theory and its progeny, instruct students to only view life through the lens of race and presumes that some students are consciously or unconsciously racist, sexist, or oppressive, and that other students are victims. This denies our students the opportunity to gain important facts, core knowledge, formulate their own opinions, and to think for themselves. Our children deserve far better from their education than to be told what to think.
Instead, the foundation of our educational system should be built on teaching our students how to think for themselves.”
Glenn Youngkin, Winsome Sears, and Jason Miyares have essentially opened up a Based Department in Virginia state government. Every red-state governor should follow their lead.
— Christopher F. Rufo ⚔️ (@realchrisrufo) January 25, 2022
The tipline drew criticism from many, including “an NAACP chapter and others” calling Youngkin’s order “divisive.” Others called for spamming the tipline email address with “irrelevant information,” according to NBC4 Washington.
Miyares commented on his opinion and support for Youngkin’s EOs in Sunday’s Fox and Friends Weekend Interview.
Parents should make decisions regarding the health, safety, and well-being of their child. https://t.co/4g92EDMhv8
— Jason Miyares (@JasonMiyaresVA) January 26, 2022
Youngkin has also issued an executive order on mask mandates. Executive Order Two is the order Hoffman cited to support his children’s right to abandon masks in school. Youngkin says parents have the right to decide what is best for their children regarding their health. The order also highlights the growing evidence showing that masks do more harm than good and have not been proven effective in preventing or spreading COVID-19. Youngkin writes:
“Universal masking requirement in schools has provided inconsistent health benefits, the universal requirement has also inflicted notable harm and proven to be impracticable. Masks inhibit the ability of children to communicate, delay language development, and impede the growth of emotional and social skills. Some children report difficulty breathing and discomfort as a result of masks. Masks have also increased feelings of isolation, exacerbating mental health issues, which in many cases pose a greater health risk to children than COVID-19. Two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, mask mandates in schools have proved demoralizing to children facing these and other difficulties.
While the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends masks, its research has found no statistically significant link between mandatory masking for students and reduced transmission of COVID-19. And the CDC has acknowledged that certain masks may be ineffective due to the material from which they are made or how they are worn. A review of CDC, WHO, and other local and international health authorities’ recommendations reveals a lack of consensus on the costs and benefits of mask-wearing for children in school for many of the reasons noted above.”
Many School Districts in Virginia are Resisting Governor’s EOs
According to local Attorney Delois Stallman, some Virginia school districts are ignoring Governor Youngkin’s EOs. She said on Bannon’s War Room on Monday that right now, 69 school districts there are “not following parents’ choice as laid out in the Governor’s executive order.” Additionally, legal efforts are afoot to fight the Governor’s EO on mask mandates. Seven school districts have enjoined the order filing a lawsuit, according to wric.com:
“[The seven districts] include Richmond, Alexandria City, Arlington County, Fairfax County, Falls Church City, Hampton City, and Prince William County. The seven school districts serve over 350,000 students across the commonwealth.”
“Without today’s action, school boards are placed in a legally untenable position—faced with an executive order that is in conflict with the constitution and state law. Today’s action is not politically motivated,” the school boards said in a joint statement when announcing the lawsuit.”
Several Virginia school systems, including Fairfax and Prince William counties, sue to challenge constitutionality of Gov. Youngkin’s executive order that eliminates mask requirement in schools. pic.twitter.com/pnzQfD4wiR
— Scott Gelman (@Gelman_Scott) January 24, 2022
The case is scheduled to be heard in the Arlington Circuit Court on Feb. 2 at 1 p.m. Stallman said there is also a “writ of mandamus with 13 parents out of Chesapeake who are trying to go to the Supreme Court against the governor’s order.”
Jason Miyares has been bold from the beginning. Upon entering office, he immediately fired approximately 30 people from the civil rights division of his office. Miyares spokeswoman Victoria LaCivita says changes from a new AG are not unusual:
“The 30 staff members—17 of them attorneys—were told that Miyares would be moving in a different direction.
During the campaign, it was made clear that now-Attorney General-elect Miyares and Attorney General Herring have very different visions for the office,” she said by email for this story. “We are restructuring the office, as every incoming AG has done in the past.”
The mainstream media is in shock over the unity among the three newly elected Virginians. The MSM does not seem to be in sync with the parents who have long-awaited these changes and who voted for the very policies Miyares, Youngkin, and Sears are now setting into motion.
It's not just the volume of controversial moves from Virginia Republicans, it's also the speed: Youngkin, Miyares, and Earle-Sears were only inaugurated 10 days ago. https://t.co/qwqSn3lUvb
— Steve Benen (@stevebenen) January 25, 2022