Watch the video, above, of Virginia mom Merianne Jensen, whose powerful speech about masks at a school board meeting went viral, or read the lightly edited transcript below.
To see somebody, just a plain old simple mom, getting up and calling out the superintendent, I think that resonated with parents. People all over the country are fed up.
So I ask you: If masks work, why don’t they?
My name is Merianne Jensen and I am a mother of four children. I’m located in Prince William County. COVID has really affected my children’s education. A mask has its purpose. Masks are not effective in the classrooms. COVID-19 is not being spread in the classrooms. It is not being spread by children, and the emotional damage that is being done by masks far, far outweighs getting COVID-19.
My son came home the first day of school with an extreme headache, and went to bed with a stomachache because he was so anxious. I told him it was just the first day jitters. The second day, he came home from school with a splitting headache. For two weeks, he came home with a headache. We took him to the doctor. It was all because of the mask.
We play politics with kids’ faces by placing restrictive fabric over their noses and mouths, that the CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] itself has said don’t do anything, and it’s for their safety.
Dr. [LaTanya D.] McDade is the superintendent of the Prince William County education system. When I attended a critical race theory training meeting, I just grabbed her and said, “Hey, Dr. McDade. I’m Merianne Jensen, and when will our kids get out of masks?” And she looked at me in the eye and she said that she would, if she could, but that her hands were tied by then Gov. [Ralph] Northam’s executive order mandating face coverings, and if it weren’t for that, things would be different.
When Gov. Glenn Youngkin was elected, we were ecstatic. When the order came, I was very hopeful that Dr. McDade would keep her promise, so then we heard that these seven counties were suing Gov. Youngkin, regarding his executive order, which was shocking to me, when I had been told by Dr. McDade personally that they would be waiting for guidance from Richmond.
This is asinine. This is blatant political theater and it needs to end.
The board meeting was incredible. We had a lot of charged parents, bipartisan parents that want their children to be able to have a choice. Many of us have emailed board members hundreds and thousands of emails, and we get nothing back in response.
I’ve attended many school board meetings in the past, and every time I’ve signed up to get a spot, I’ve gotten denied, and I finally got a spot this time. It was the only way that I was able to communicate how I felt and how so many other parents felt. I’m asking all of you to step up the way other leaders who have and are ending COVID restrictions by the day. When will you? What will it take?
The only way out of this was to sign up for a religious exemption. The county has fought tooth and nail, and they’ve made it really difficult for our children. I let them choose what they wanted to do. I gave them the options, and they chose the mitigations, because they hate the mask so much. It’s killing them emotionally.
My children have to sit six feet away from their peers. If they are doing a group project, they have to put on a face shield, which is a face covering. If they cannot sit six feet away, they have to have a plexiglass shield around their desk, so they are at story time or in library and they have to sit far away and cannot be with their friends. They cannot see the pictures in the books. They are being targeted.
They are being bullied by their leaders, by their principals, by their superintendent, by their teachers. They’re being shamed and punished.
I would like to say to the school board members, listen to your constituents. You need to stop using our children as pawns in your political games. You were nominated. You were elected for our children and not for your politics. You are on the losing side of history and it’s time to make that right before these children now.