Opinion: Hingham Parents Know Best

November 30, 2021 by Drew Wallace

COVID has become a tool of the Hingham Public School (HPS) District to assert control. Early on, when the disease was unknown and without therapeutics, you could never be too cautious. Almost two years later, with mountains of data and impact across age groups, the HPS District still beats the drum of over- cautionary measures. Not aimed at making your child safer. Aimed at retaining power and in defiance of common sense.

For many during the COVID era, panic and fear sprung the need to find control. Control in uncertainty is a primal instinct. Institutions such as government, and schools, prey upon that fear and perpetuate it.

Once said, “social control is best managed through fear.” That’s exactly what the school district has done, particularly as it applies to masking of young children. It’s a foot in the door to call the shots.

CDC data on the risk for our youth is publicly available. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to build your own interpretation, determine risk, and create a plan for your family. Creating a plan that best fits your family is an example of what makes this country great. According to the CDC, so far this year 331 children (0-17) have died from COVID. In unrelated events, over 400 children have drowned in pools, and 1,165 have died from gun violence. Case in point, the risk of your child dying from COVID is very low. Compared to other threats, even lower.

There are many biomarkers that HPS is on the wrong track. Hingham is one of the few South Shore towns that have not dropped the mask mandate for high school, despite being above the state required 80% vaccination rate. Their excuse: they can’t get access to faculty and staff vaccination rates. Weird huh? Somehow every other town has managed to do it.

Here’s another example, and the real meat of this story. Our family sought a medical mask exemption for our son, during his 1v1 Individual Education Program (IEP) sessions at Hingham South. We sat with our Primary Care Provider (PCP) and discussed the issue. It was based upon his medical history, behavioral traits, and other items that are private. Upon submission to the school, we were met with resistance. Not only did they ignore the letter, and not engage in discourse with the parents, they demanded access to the doctor and HIPPAA Privacy Release. They demanded to know why the doctor didn’t confer with the school in the creation of the medical diagnosis and exemption. Did the doctor follow up with Hingham South educators regarding the concerns? Did the doctor speak with his classroom teacher who has known him all of 45 days? Did the doctor only have “second-hand reports” about the child and his/her difficulty wearing a mask?

Ultimately, they denied the medical note, and waited close to two months to do so. They did so with the opinions of his teachers. Are the teacher’s qualified clinicians or child psychologists? Nope. They teach math. They teach writing. All very important but hardly qualified to make a clinical diagnosis.

Last I checked, Hingham South wasn’t involved in making medical decisions for my family. They don’t have a seat at that table, and never will. They can teach subjects of science, english, and math, but not weigh-in on important medical decisions for my family.

But I wasn’t surprised. One special education teacher stated, ‘masks don’t effect learning, I have the data.’ (Unbeknownst to her one needs a control group to isolate the effect of masking on students.) It’s no secret that masks on our youth have a profound effect on speech, language, and expressing emotion. For those educators who deny this belief, they have let their fear and politics invade their judgement.

For those who believe they have ‘data,’ is that data reliable and verifiable? The school clings to the belief that government and institutions know best, and parents do not. We are the ‘Domestic Terrorists.’ Last I checked I didn’t see many of those in Hingham. I’ve just seen parents who know what’s best for their child.

We haven’t even begun to understand the psychological effects of masking in schools and the daily input of fear into our children. Don’t expect our school district to conduct that study. The rebuke is coming. The Hingham School District has had a bite of empowerment in the era of COVID. It’s time to call them out.

16 thoughts on “Opinion: Hingham Parents Know Best”

  1. Drew. I’m sorry to hear about the challenge you faced. I am 100% NOT aligned with anyone in the educational system interfering with an MD recommended medical decision for your child. That should not happen as long as the physician has clearly articulated a medical rationale that logically aligns to improved outcomes for your child without a mask.

    However, I take STRONG OBJECTION to your characterization of the risk. Citing 331 deaths is of course one measure. To the child who contracts COVID the most morbid outcome. But the long term impact of Long-COVID you have ignored entirely. And EVEN MORE IMPORANTLY, you have neglected to mention the 130K kids each week that contract COVID (likely an underestimate since so many are asymptomatic) and the deaths caused by them passing it to others. In my sphere alone, a child coming home from a Hingham school gave COVID to his entire family, two of his grandparents (who thankfully are vaccinated), who then had close contact before knowing they were infected with an additional 12 family members, etc. So when you start to include all the deaths caused by that the story changes a bit. Moreover, if you consider the number of kids who would then be identified as close contacts and get COVID who then have to isolate and are not able to stay in school and the negative impact of that – you can see why the policy may be the way it is written.

    Reply
    • No offense ma’am, but if your parents (the kids’ grandparents) were vaxxed, and every other adult (or person over 12) in your family who wants to get vaxxed has been vaxxed; then doesnt that show the system of ‘personal responsibility’ AND ‘individual choice / freedom’ works just fine?

      Even if you claim that some of your family members (or others’) are not able to get vaxxed or are immunocompromised – why do you feel that the particular idiosyncrasies of your family justify taking freedoms and choices away from other families or justify the forced masking of all kids?

      You and your immediate family can choose not to congregate with your extended family or those at particular risk of COVID complications, you can all get vaxxed & mask-up, you could all go for free regular COVID testing.

      Your family and others are all free to make or not make those choices but your choice to congregate, not get vaxxed or not wear a mask does not and should not justify forcing others to inject things into their bodies or to wear a mask over their face. In truth, you want the freedom to make YOUR choices but your choices are being used to justify taking freedoms and choices from others. Meanwhile, those who do not want to get vaxxed or to wear a mask or who do not want their kids to wear a mask are not demanding you do or not do anything to accommodate THEIR choices. Unlike you, those people are not using their desire for freedom of choice to justify taking away your freedom of choice.

      And therein lay the fundamental issue in this debate that few want to acknowledge.

      Reply
  2. Drew, you mentioned drowning and gun deaths. In both of those cases protections have been put in place to try to prevent deaths, one with more resistance than the other.

    Do you know what’s more devastating and impact full to a child than a mask? What about them living without a parent who they inadvertently passed it to? Children pass all sorts of germs day to day and besides being an effective barrier (just look at the Swiss cheese model about how it works) they are a reminder to us that we are protecting others and that whether you believe it or not, there still is a pandemic going on.
    The control narrative is ridiculous. You think that with all the technology in the world that a mask would be the control choice? If your so worried about control, throw you cell phone and compuet in the harbor and don’t perpetuate this narrative when the only goal of HPS is to prevent further infection and save lives.

    Sincerely someone who just lost a family member to COVID. It was preventable and his children. No longer have a father because of opinions like yours.

    Reply
  3. “O.K.
    Just a little pin prick
    There’ll be no more aaaaaaaah!
    But you may feel a little sick

    Can you stand up?
    I do belive it’s working good…..

    Reply
  4. Children are statistically more likely to be killed by:
    Cancer, motor vehicle accidents, firearms, malignant neoplasm, suffocation, drowning, drug overdose, poisoning, congenital defects, heart disease, fire or burning, chronic lower respiratory disease (not coronavirus) ,

    More teens die of work related injuries than covid. Agricultural chores and part-time after school jobs are more dangerous than this virus.
    More teens die of alcohol poisoning, self inflicted alcohol related injury, and suicide than covid.

    Reply
  5. I can understand being upset when your child has to do something they don’t like, such as wearing a mask. Sensory issues can make mask wearing troublesome at times. Children tend to do better with masks when they are at school than parents think they will.
    I would have had more sympathy for your family’s concern about your child having to wear a mask if you weren’t trying to back up your position with blatant misinformation and conspiracy theories.
    There is plenty of data proving that masks work. There is plenty of data proving that covid is dangerous for children and their families. You decided to only acknowledge the deaths. What about the children with long term health issues because of covid? What about all of the children who have lost a parent or loved one because they caught covid at school and brought it home with them? What about the children with congenital heart conditions, chronic illnesses or diseases that make them more susceptible to severe disease if they catch covid?
    What I can’t find is any data to back up your claims that the district is trying to control us by using covid. They are following the science. The evidence based empirical data in order to keep the entire school community safe.
    You are upset that the school declined the doctor’s note from your child’s pediatrician and go on to say that his teachers have only known him for 45 days so they can’t possibly make a valid judgement about his ability to tolerate a mask. In the 45 days those teachers have logged more time with your son than his pediatrician has. Based on my experiences as a nurse, his pediatrician likely has to review his chart prior to waking into the exam room because he or she has hundreds of patients. It is extremely rare for a doctor to spend more than 20-30 minutes with a patient at a time and pediatric office visits with the pediatrician happen a handful of times a year at worst l or once a year if the child is healthy.
    The school systems in every single town and city have a duty to provide a safe environment for ALL of the children and staff. They have to balance the needs of your son with everyone else’s children and all of the faculty and staff. Public health is ALWAYS more important than individual freedom. Going all the way back to the beginning of the 20th century when smallpox vaccination was mandated.
    If you are so unhappy with the Hingham School system then you are free to unenroll your son and homeschool him yourself. Let’s be honest, you seem to feel that the men and women who teach in the schools don’t know your child and aren’t trained to handle special needs or qualified to tell if a child is struggling or thriving in their classroom. Although you couldn’t be further from the truth you seem to think you know best so please, stop wasting the resources of the Hingham school district and withdraw your child to homeschool him or enroll him in a private school that will cater to your self entitlement and entertain your conspiracy theories.

    Reply
  6. Unhinged rants belong in a Letters to the Editor section. Prominent placement of this nonsense alongside well-reasoned pieces makes me seriously doubt the editorial process at the Anchor.

    Reply
    • Hear! Hear! Giving voice to bizarre, anti-social conspiracy theories is a great way to drive down your readership. I can only hope the editors take note.

      Reply
  7. There is a complete disregard towards safety of the staff in this conspiracy laden nonsense. This is poorly written and full of logical fallacies. Even in an opinion section this is an embarrassment to the author and this publication. This post likely got removed from some Facebook conspiracy group before finding it’s sad home here.

    Reply
  8. Mr. Wallace: Don’t be silly! Yes, there is freedom of speech in America but your “Opinion” is an example of how that “freedom” can be abused. If you are truly interested in the the well-being of your son, you’d listen to those who are more knowledgable than you and follow their guidance to protect your son and to protect everyone else around him (including you). This is a time when the good of the one must be subordinated to the good of the whole. It’s for the good of everyone that we work together to do what we can do (vaccination, masking, social distancing, washing hands frequently, etc.) to beat back this extremely contagious Covid-19 pandemic.

    Reply
  9. This opinion piece is a farce. While the Anchor may be striving to give voice to a range of opinions, the writer is using the Anchor to publicly blast a school teacher who is not at liberty to disclose her side of the conversation due to confidentiality and privacy concerns. It was beyond irresponsible of the Anchor to publish a piece that promotes questionable theories and publicly harasses an educator. This is not an opinion piece in the true sense of the word (it’s also riddled with poor grammar and syntax); it’s an unsubstantiated rant against HPS.

    Reply
  10. I appreciate you sharing your experience with South School. I wish they had taken your concerns seriously and that your son was able to learn optimally. Have you attended a school committee meeting or checked in with the Superintendent for a second opinion? Keep us posted on your progress…

    I also appreciate the Anchor publishing this opinion piece. As a parent with young children, the toll COVID is taking on their age-group feels underrepresented. Adults have complained about not being able to travel, eat out or see family over the past two years; my 4 year old cannot remember a time in her life when masks weren’t the norm. Their speech is delayed; their social skills are severely stunted; they’ve had to sacrifice in-person medical appointments/procedures and, for many, been in unsafe homes with zero intervention from schools, doctors or other important touchpoints during quarantine and lockdowns. These issues are real and extremely concerning.

    Reply
  11. If you have an issue with HPS and its masking policies, don’t broadcast it on a local newspaper. Doing so won’t solve anything, just only direct potential harassment onto your son’s teacher. And, your son’s teacher has had *plenty* of non-masked control data to compare to – full years with educating children in years past. Also, have you actually asked your son whether he would like to mask or not? It seems like you’re making decisions for him that he has no input on, which is unfortunate. Children are far more competent than you would have yourself believing.

    Finally, that unattributed quote you mentioned? It comes from Michael Crichton, an author at Harvard Medical School, who would have undoubtedly supported the use of masks in public schools. Maybe know your sources before you actually quote them. 😉

    Reply
  12. Isn’t this fun, not once are mask opponents acknowledging the fact that say are not protecting themselves, but others when wearing a mask. I really don’t care if anyone thinks that the risk for them or their child is dismissible, the risk to their child’s table group buddy might not. I am trying to raise my kids into responsible adults, so they may not do harm to others, part of that is learning how to cope with annoyances. Maybe start there instead of throwing a tantrum. Maybe start a vaccination campaign to get the numbers up in our town, so the DESE might allow us to drop the mask mandate too, like it just happened in Scituate and Norwell.
    Do your part to keep the community save, because inadvertently there will be folks you come in contact with that aren’t as lucky as you are.

    Reply
  13. Thank you for posting this opinion article Hingham Anchor. It is sad that in today’s society, freedom of speech is being silenced by harassment and attempted intimidation. Anyone should have the chance to voice an opinion even if someone may not like it or not. Our community needs to do better at listening to our neighbors as opposed to trying to shut them up because they have a different point of view. So thank you Hingham Anchor for allowing a concerned neighbor have a chance to voice a real opinion. No one needs to agree on this gentleman’s article or even like it, that’s the beauty of freedom of speech, but we should be listening to them and try to understand where he is coming from. To all Hingham friends and families-I implore you to try to do more listening to one another. Our children are watching us and will either repeat our mistakes of putting another person down over a difference of opinion or really try to listen to one another! If we want to raise kind and accepting kids then as adults we need to show them that through our own actions. I personally will choose to listen on both sides of anyones opinion and hope this community does as well.

    Reply

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