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Conservatives Controlling Rapid City School Board Reject Facts and Duty to Protect Public Health

The right-wing extremists Rapid City voters elected to their school board this summer are showing their political pro-pandemic disregard for facts and duty.

At Monday’s meeting, the Rapid City school board said it will get rid of all coronavirus mitigation measures because we just need to move on and because coronavirus isn’t sending anyone in the schools to the hospital or the morgue:

Board representative Gabe Doney said the current plan is untrustworthy, and that RCAS families don’t trust the school district after the events of 2020. The new board members need to be trusted, Doney said, which is why they needed to act on the plan.

“We are not going to move forward as a community, as a state, as a nation, if we don’t move on. Our kids are going through terrible emotional stress from wearing masks,” Doney said. “I get it, there’s a virus out there. I’m not saying it’s not real. But there’s nothing in this past year that has proven to me that any one of our kids or teachers who got COVID were in the hospital, let alone died. Let’s move forward” [Abby Wargo, “Rapid City Board of Education Plans to Scrap All Covid Mitigation Measures for 2021–22 School Year,Rapid City Journal, 2021.08.10].

That statement is false:

According to RCAS Community Relations Manager Katy Urban, multiple staff members were hospitalized due to COVID-19 last year [Wargo, 2021.08.10].

Board president Kate Thomas, in her sixth year of undermining public schools from her board position and now backed by June’s pandemic-deniers caucus, declared that our public schools have no duty to protect public health:

“There should be no quarantine. Just like with the flu, if you’re sick, stay home,” she said to applause from the crowd amassed for the public comment portion of the meeting.

Thomas also said the school district shouldn’t be performing contact tracing, as that is the state health department’s job, and that the school should not provide RT-PCR tests for COVID because they aren’t accurate.

“It is not our job as a public education forum to be in charge of health care [for] any of these kids or our staff. It is up to them, and that’s what health care privacy means,” she said [Wargo, 2021.08.10].

What, if a kid falls off the swings at recess and cracks her skull, the teachers are supposed to stand back and not administer first aid, for fear of intruding on the child’s privacy?

Thomas must be angling to eliminate Rapid City’s nine school nurses and two coordinators, who are in charge of “promoting health and wellness in a safe supportive environment” to make sure “All students will be healthy, safe, and ready to learn.” Rapid City’s school nurses develop health care plans, administer medications, coordinate health screenings, educate students and staff, assess and monitor communicable diseases, and enforce state law and district policies on student immunizations.

The mission of public education is inextricably bound to the mission of health care:

A student’s health is directly related to his or her ability to learn. Children with unmet health needs have a difficult time engaging in the educational process. The school nurse supports student success by providing health care through assessment, intervention, and follow-up for all children within the school setting. The school nurse addresses the physical, mental, emotional, and social health needs of students and supports their achievement in the learning process [National Association of School Nurses, “The Role of the 21st Century School Nurse,” retrieved 2021.08.11].

Maybe Thomas, Daney, and their wrecking crew find school health services superfluous, if not tyrannical, but state law does not. Recognizing the connection between education and health, South Dakota requires every school district to provide school health services:

A public school system shall provide school health services coordinated by a registered nurse, whose services may be shared by one or more school systems. The services shall include assessment and implementation of services for students with special needs, administration of medications, and performance of specialized health care procedures.

The registered nurse is responsible for the training and supervision of any school employee to whom provision of any of the services listed in this section is delegated [SDCL 13-33A-1, enacted 1993].

School board presidents should understand the law and the duties of their school districts. But that’s not what Rapid City voters want.

It’s hard to tell what’s worse: the irresponsible numbskullery Rapid City’s new school board members are spewing from the dais or the destructive hordes filling the seats at board meetings to applaud such contrastatutory numbskullery. Rapid City’s school board is showing the stupidity that arises when we don’t pay attention to local elections.

33 Comments

  1. DaveFN 2021-08-11

    Over-reacting to last year and under-reacting to the delta variant of this year. Plus…

    “We have been inundated with data all over the country saying there is a push to put Critical Race Theory in through math,” Thomas [of the Rapid City School Board] said.”

    They neglected to say that CRT also takes a critical look at science, not just math. Ironic since antivaxxers are typically anti-science, howbeit too ignorant to take anything like a critical look at it.

  2. Donald Pay 2021-08-11

    These folks are filth, the worst people on earth.

    A rewrtie of the Alice Cooper song Dead Babies seems appropriate now for the this Rapid City School District of Death:

    Little Betty went to school on Tuesday
    She caught Covid from a maskless student there
    The School Board didn’t care to save her
    They didn’t even hear the maskless students call

    Dead students
    Can’t take care of themselves
    Dead students
    Can’t wear their masks at school
    Well we didn’t want you anyway
    Lalala-la, lalala-la, la la la

  3. Neal 2021-08-11

    The bus ride to school exposes children to greater risk than covid. This is a fact.

  4. Donald Pay 2021-08-11

    Neal, Bus rides do expose children to risks. So does walking to school or riding with parents, or staying home from school. In risk assessment, you look for ways to reduce risk, not to increase them. In the case of bus rides there are risk reduction that is applied. For example, drivers’ records are screened to weed out poor driving. Drivers have drug tests they must pass. There are rules students have to follow tp reduce distraction, such as remaining seated. In some districts buses have seat belts, which must be fastened. There are stop signs that are deployed to halt traffic when students deboard. There are extra mirrors on buses to assure the driver can see 360 degrees around the bus. Bus maintenance must be continuous to meet standards. Monitors are on buses to assure students aren’t left alone.

    Don’t be a fool, Neal. Masks are just one more in a long line of risk reduction measures school districts must take to protect students.

    You know these fools on the school board didn’t take the full oath of office, which means they may not actually be school board members, in which case the decisions they make may have no force. I also wonder if that leaves them exposed to personal lawsuits. I know if my child got Covid at school and the school board refused to take public health measures, I would be suing the district and the board members personally.

  5. Joe 2021-08-11

    ” I know if my child got Covid at school and the school board refused to take public health measures, I would be suing the district and the board members personally.”

    I have friends with kids enrolled in RCAS, and this is exactly what they plan to do.

  6. ds 2021-08-11

    Our Daughter is 10 going to RVE 5th grade. We are alarmed on the updated ‘no mask’ mandate. We suspect that parents that pushed for ‘no masks’ are the same ones that deny or skip Covid-19 vaccination. Therefore, the chances for spreading the latest Delta variant in school classrooms are serious. Also, the school district did NOT take this summer opportunity to improve the ventilation in the RCAS.
    With these facts in mind, we are hesitant to send our child to school. At the least RCAS could segregate students by parental preference, with student classroom assignments as ‘masked’ and ‘unmasked’.
    Thank you in advance for your consideration.
    Sent to K. Thomas and Dr. Simon

  7. Mark Anderson 2021-08-11

    Neal talks in facts, any beilievers? The death rate has gone up dramatically in just the past few days, very soon it will be above a thousand a day. Mid October it will be at its height and by mid January it will be down again. Just the facts jack. The pesky little Germ, man is it patient. All we can do is let insurance companies not pay for the unvaccinated. Those who get fired for not getting their shots, no unemployment. Once the FDA acts and OKs the vaccine, it will become mandatory all over the place. The military is correct on this. If you want to take a safe cruise, the Norwegians have it down. It’s still a great world, look at it and have a nice day. Don’t worry about the school board, kids can look at whatever they want.

  8. Mark Anderson 2021-08-11

    You know ds, I wouldn’t send my kids. In Florida they are allowing parents to apply for non masked status. I hope that will divide the school into masked classes and unmasked. The heath results of that would be very clear to see. Transparency all the way.

  9. Porter Lansing 2021-08-11

    Rapid City and Cheyenne are the two most belligerent suburbs of Denver.

    Today, Germany says no more free Covid testing for the unvaccinated.

    The intensive care units are packed with them.

    Time to bankrupt the stubborn and repossess some property.

    Let’s watch Neal squeal.

  10. Donald Pay 2021-08-11

    Joe, yeah, I assume there are attorneys looking into how they can start owning some new property in Rapid City. You know, suing the school board is the rule of law way to go about things. That’s what needs to happen, but gun ownership is high in Rapid City and Daddies are pretty protective of their kids. Those school board member better have a rethink, because if they play so cavalierly with children’s health and lives contrary to public health advisories someone who wants a target for their grief will know exactly who to go gunning for them. It’s not the recommended way to handle grieving a dead child, but it’s something that could happen if the board refuses to come to its senses and mandates masks in school, as recommended by public health officials. I also hope they are providing virtual learning for students who don’t want to risk their irresponsibility.

  11. Kyle Krause 2021-08-11

    It’s not just masks. No contact tracing. No testing. No quarantine. No plan for parents who are not comfortable with that. I like the idea of letting parents decide whether they want their kids to be in a class with precautions or a class without – it sounds like a great way to make sure my kid ends up in a class with children whose parents are intelligent.

    The board also refused to allow a grant application to be submitted for money to help immigrant children and their families adapt to their new country and learn English. As best I can tell, the main reason is basically that they don’t like immigrants. Also, they are literally worried about critical race theory seeping into elementary schools via the math curriculum. It’s insane and quite discouraging.

  12. mike from iowa 2021-08-11

    You can have armed school guards to protect students from grizz….masked intruders.

  13. jerry 2021-08-11

    Donald Pay, you hit the mark man, Alice Cooper, Mr. Budweiser himself, in the old days, put on a good concert. Weird, but good. Saw him at the Denver Coliseum many moons ago, much fun.

    Here is the Rapid City Journal’s report on these misfits in the school board, an IQ of 10 counting the whole damn bunch

    “After weeks of lower infection numbers, COVID-19 is making a comeback in South Dakota.

    As vaccination levels have stalled at 60% of eligible people in the state, new infections and active infections are on the rise. With 733 new infections recorded this week, the South Dakota Department of Health reported 1,149 active cases in the state — the highest level since May 10. On July 1, there were fewer than 150 active cases in the state.

    Pennington County has the most active cases it has seen since March 7. There were 135 positive tests in the county this week, leading active infections to climb to 197. A Pennington County man in his 50s was the only death reported this week in South Dakota.”

    I don’t know how we do it, but we find the most ignorant people in the county for these jobs of owning the libs. Get the small coffins ready.

  14. Mark Anderson 2021-08-11

    You know earlier in July I read an article by a Ben Collins on Qanons running for school board. It’s happening folks. They haven’t thinned the herd yet.

  15. John 2021-08-11

    Parents at Rapid City schools can: 1) sue the board to stop it’s clawing back of COVID mitigation measures; and / or 2) “encourage” the Pennington County public health officer to act in the full realm of authority vested in that position – to make a public health order that all kids K-8 be masked if attending school or school activities (bus, assembly, extra-curricular things, etc.).

    A county public health officer in Florida issued an order that all students attending public schools will be masked. The Florida governor is holding his breath and stomping his feet – but cannot do anything about it.

    Public health officers have broad authority. They rarely practice using it since they rarely need to use that authority.
    Consult Micheal Lewis’s, https://www.amazon.com/Premonition-Pandemic-Story-Michael-Lewis/dp/0393881555/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3RLIOZ9JMD6MW&dchild=1&keywords=premonition+book+michael+lewis&qid=1628720177&sprefix=premonition%2Caps%2C233&sr=8-1 for details on the expansive public health powers vested in county and state public health officers as applied, or not applied, to the COVID pandemic..

  16. Jackie 2021-08-11

    Kate Thomas is a cancer. She hates public education. She homeschools her kids, so why does she want to serve on the board?
    The RCAS is now packed with crazies with agendas, none of which are concerned with the best interest of students.
    To that end, the admin brought this on by not being transparent and not being consistent in the Covid response.

  17. John 2021-08-11

    “Voluntary” masking in schools is like having a peeing section in the swimming pool or a smoking section on an airplane.
    The emerging theory is the anti-maskers are cowards. Their grandparents or great grandparents masked in 1919. Masking did not “scar” the psyche of those, heck, they won WWII, or supporting winning WWII.

    Mandate vaccinate those 12 and older. Mask mandates for K-8 kids.

    The science (from studying over a million kids across half a dozen states) shows a less than 1% COVID transmission rate in schools that masked; while a 13-16% COVID rate in schools without mask mandates.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aJLGvEJRZ_E

    Fire up your county public health officer to support children’s’ health.

  18. grudznick 2021-08-11

    Doctors and thieves…they both wear masks.
    grudznick wears one too, but it is mostly because of how comfortable it is and because it hides my gruesome visage.

  19. jerry 2021-08-11

    Kate Thomas and a peeing section in a swimming pool. LOL, Damn, this blog is entertaining as it can be. She has that look about her that she does that too. Someday, some group is gonna sue those school board idiots and their gonna lose big time… but with my tax dollars along with the unnecessary deaths of dozens of children.

  20. O 2021-08-11

    jerry, your point is on the mark. Schools are playing this pandemic like they are at a casino and they just keep “winning.” (Winning as defined as not having students or staff die at the hands of improper precautions in the face fo pandemic.). Unfortunately, the house always wins over time.

  21. DaveFN 2021-08-11

    Take heart. When we see full FDA approval of COVID vaccines there will be vaccine mandates aplenty.

    The Cartesian hold-outs who are skeptical of external reality and for whom no external reality therefore exists to check their runaway and idiotic ideas of a free being will fall on their own sword.

    It can’t happen soon enough.

  22. Porter Lansing 2021-08-12

    Kyle Kraus -“It sounds like a great way to make sure my kid ends up in a class with children whose parents are intelligent.”

    The 40 somethings who deny vaccines are the half-educated children of the 60 somethings who denied global warming.

    Thirty percent of Americans are now from a depleted gene pool of ignorance.

    Donald Trump became President by lying them into believing it’s not their fault.

    That they’re NOT a result of their personal choices.

    That they’re actually innocent victims of BIPOC’s and liberals.

    America Is Currently Pitiful

  23. mike from iowa 2021-08-12

    Education related. but, off topic…… Oregon guv Brown quietly signed a bill allowing students to graduate without having to prove they can read or write.

    After that, the story is for subscribers only. I expect better from Dem pols.

  24. jerry 2021-08-12

    So, it’s Thursday. How is that Covid thingy going in South Dakota? Oh my

    “The COVID-19 dashboard will be updated on the DOH’s website by noon Monday through Friday. The health department had moved to weekly updates in July because the state was averaging 10-15 new cases daily. In contrast, during the first week of August, 90 cases per day were reported to the health department — a 73% increase from the 52 cases per day reported the week prior.

    As of Thursday, the state saw 134 new confirmed cases, 19 new probable cases and 1,210 active cases. Statewide, 76 people are currently hospitalized with COVID. To date, 2,051 South Dakotans have died of COVID-19.” Rapid City Journal 8.12.21

    We ain’t seen nothing yet. The supercharged super carrier called Sturgis will make this Thursday seem calm in a week or so.

    Impeach the bumbling lying Qanon pool pee’ers at the Rapid City School District for attempted manslaughter with their edict

  25. jerry 2021-08-12

    mfi, sorry you did not get to read the entire information regarding Governor Brown of Oregon. Governor Brown and the Democrats, supported the signing of this bill because it was requested by many because the old law was outdated. Rest assured Governor Brown is on top of this.

    “The Oregonian asked the governor’s office when Brown’s staff notified the Legislature that she had signed the bill. Charles Boyle, the governor’s deputy communications director, declined to answer.

    Boyle wrote in an emailed statement that suspending the reading, writing and math proficiency requirements while the state develops new graduation standards will benefit “Oregon’s Black, Latino, Latina, Latinx, Indigenous, Asian, Pacific Islander, Tribal, and students of color.”

    “Leaders from those communities have advocated time and again for equitable graduation standards, along with expanded learning opportunities and supports,” Boyle wrote.” https://www.bendbulletin.com/localstate/education/transparency-issues-surround-bill-allowing-oregon-students-to-graduate-without-proving-they-can-write-or/article_f686c7ae-f6f0-11eb-8379-bf4164d41cb0.html

    Bend, Oregon is one of my most favorite spots in the whole US of A, outside of Polo, South Dakota. Just beautiful there in Bend.

  26. grudznick 2021-08-12

    Polo, SD, is indeed one inglorious spot, living in the faint shadows, as it does, of such places as Ree Heights and The Orient.

  27. mike from iowa 2021-08-12

    Thanks for the update, Jerry. Good news you’d never get from magats.

  28. mike from iowa 2021-08-13

    4 Broward County, Florida, educators died within about 24 hours from Covid-19 complications….just saying.

  29. jerry 2021-08-13

    Rapid City kids, Kate and the plague called RCAS, want you to shop early for your own coffins. Perhaps the funeral homes will give a twofer discount if you act fast. ” Active COVID-19 infections in Pennington County have reached their highest level since Feb. 28. ” Rapid City Journal 8.13.21

    The superspreading NOem rally ain’t even over yet and here we are. Plenty of chicken salad sandwiches for the luncheons after services. Ah republicans, owning the libs while tossing the shovel full of dirt on school children’s coffins.

  30. jerry 2021-08-13

    So Kate what happens when your kid needs ICU? Dallas Texas county judge ““We have 0 ICU beds left for children … Your child will wait for another child to die.”

    — Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins

  31. jerry 2021-08-13

    How many will need die in order to impeach this Qanon bunch of blood thirsty child killers that call themselves school boards? How many? Is 10 a number we can live with or 20 or 50? What is the number Kate? Tell us what is acceptable to you and your bunch of ghouls?

    What will happen when we see headlines like this in our local paper “Dallas Judge to anti-maskers: There are no ICU beds, ‘your child will wait for another child to die’”

    https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2021/8/13/2045619/-Dallas-Judge-to-anti-maskers-There-are-no-ICU-beds-your-child-will-wait-for-another-child-to-die

  32. John 2021-08-13

    The hospitals in Mississippi collapsed. There is a waiting list for ICU beds. The hospitals are stacking up ICU patients like cord wood. The feds are putting an emergency ER in the parking garage of Mississippi’s flagship state hospital. There is a waiting list for those ICU beds not yet set up.

    Similarly the hospitals in Florida, Texas, et al., are full and collapsing.

    Thanks anti-vaxers, noem, anti-maskers. https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2021/08/12/mississippi-hospital-failure-covid-icu/
    https://mississippitoday.org/2021/08/12/mississippi-hospital-system-fail-tate-reeves-2/

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