For those who don't know me, my name is Jonathan Rich. I want to welcome our new members. I appreciate that all of you want to have a positive impact for students in our region.
This has been a crazy week. Thanks to a smart and well-reasoned judge on Long Island, our children should have received a mask free day of school on Monday. Dozens of the districts on Long Island exercised that freedom.
I know many of you are angry, feeling helpless, feeling alone. We are all here together, and we are going to work to fix education in New York State.
If you have spoken at a board of ed meeting or to an elected representative in the last year, you know that parents have no voice in education in this state. COVID isn't the disease, it is a symptom of parents lack of a say in their child's education.
Tonight we are hosting a zoom meeting to introduce parents the tools that they need to start fixing what's going on in their schools, not just COVID, to teach them how to run for board of education, and to provide greatly needed support.
Tonight's meeting is for those who haven't already attended our activation meetings. If you have previously attended a meeting, stay tuned, we will be scheduling meetings on fundraising and other things very shortly.
The last thing I will say is please share this message. We are getting attention from all over the state. If you know a parent who needs to be there tonight or needs to hear what we are saying, share this with them.
We'll see you all tonight.
WNY Students First BOE Activation Meeting
Thursday 1/27/22 @ 7pm
Join Zoom Meeting Here
This poem from a student in WNY is being shared on social media right now as an example that children are fine (resilient), and that masking is not a big deal.
The state is facing a silent pandemic of mental health issues, not just in children but adults as well. Drug use among teens as surged during the pandemic, as have anxiety issues, body image issues, self harm, and suicides. Parents are powerless to watch their children struggle to develop their identity in a faceless society.
We spoke with a licensed social worker about this poem, and how problematic it is. This is her feedback.
There is no question that over the past two years many factors of the pandemic have impacted children. Covid hysteria has created fear among youth. Prolonged fear is a major concern for mental health challenges. As we aim to transition to more normal school experiences, we must reduce covid fear.
Students First is a parent advocacy organization dedicated to increasing the voice of parents and community members in education related issues. Please, join us in improving the educational outcomes for our children, and our communities' children.
This evening, a NYS Supreme Court justice in Nassau county ruled in Michael Demetriou et al v. NYS Department of Health et al (616124/2021) that the State Department of Health did not properly follow state law when enacting section 2.60 of the health code, “Face Coverings for COVID-19 Prevention.”
This means that the New York State Department of Health and local Boards of Education have illegally masked children, including two year old children, for at least the past five months.
In his decision, Judge Rademaker noted the good intentions of the policy in question, but ruled that the department exceeded its authority in enacting the statute, and as such it is null and void, and Judge Rademaker has permanently enjoined the state from enforcing it.
Western New York Students First is incredibly happy with this ruling. The rights of students and the proper obligation(s) of New York State officials have been clearly laid out.
We are aware that Governor Hochul has already said she will try and reverse the ruling. To Governor Hochul, we say “Enough is enough.” Children in New York have suffered unprecedented losses during the pandemic. New Yorkers have seen the state’s response to COVID devastate the access to education, mental health, confidence, and social skills of our students.
If Governor Hochul wishes to continue masking children, without legal authority and despite no sound scientific basis for doing so, she should encourage the legislature to give her that authority. For the first time in two years, the state legislature would have to have open hearings from the public on COVID policy, and the legislature would have the opportunity to serve their stated purpose.
We are encouraged that several brave school districts across the state have already rescinded their masking mandate. Smiles want to be seen.
For the full release: