Express Yourself: My child, my choice

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A Winters Express opinion column

By Justin Edgar
Special to the Express

I am Justin Edgar. I am a husband, father, veteran, security expert and I do not want to be here. My presence at this (school board) forum is an indicator of a catastrophic failure of the systems of governance and leadership resulting in a worst-case scenario; you have pissed the moms off.

I am here to ask for you to join us in pushing back against the vaccination mandate for our children. This mandate is not law, it is an abuse of power targeting working class families who have few alternatives for the education and work-day care of their children.

I’ll be using inclusive and exclusive pronouns during this conversation. I define “we/us” as the parents and their supporters that you see before you. Middle-of-the-road folks that have endured through an unprecedented time and have done their very best to take care of themselves, their families, and their community. I define “you/they” as the public-sector decision-makers and administrators; our elected (Board of Trustee) representatives and point at which the governing body interacts most closely with “us.”

“You” are the people whom we have entrusted with the education, safety, and health of our children. “We” assert that “you” are failing us.

We do not want our school district to accept or enforce the governor’s mandate of vaccination for school attendance. From our perspective, this is a solution to a non-existent problem. Not only have we been told that children are not “at risk” to COVID-19 infections, but the data supports this assertion.

While individually tragic, there are 37 total COVID-19 deaths of children under 17 in California. That is five ten-thousandths of a percent of reported school aged children in the State, BTW (37/6.7 mil). Further, the “vaccine” is not engineered to “prevent” the disease (as a vaccine is defined). It is intended to reduce the impact of infection on the individual.

What’s the risk, then? The short answer is that no one knows, and that’s why we are here. We have no experience or familiarity with mRNA treatments. Neither, it would appear, do the senior medical leaders in our community or nation.

While we’ve tried to “follow the science,” the messaging around COVID-19 risks have changed with the season; first it was transmitted through contact, then the air. For a while it caused Kawasaki disease in infants. We’ve stayed at home, disinfected surfaces, and worn masks.

Speaking just for my wife and I, we “chose” to be vaccinated in support of the messaging that it would reduce risk for people around us. The key word there is “chose.” We had a choice, we observed the reactions of those around us who were most excited to gain access to the treatment and decided to take that risk.

We invite and encourage our partners in education to consider, share, and echo our concerns. We are not “anti-vax,” we are “anti-mandate.”

We respectfully request the opportunity to continue to make choices that are best for our children and to be given the space to observe the impacts of treatment on children over time. There are plenty of people who are less suspicious of the politicization of this “vaccine,” and we would be remiss and hypocritical if we were to suggest any barriers to their access to such.

Having an unknown and experimental treatment applied to our growing children in response to a quantifiably insignificant risk does not make any sense.

In the absence of your support, we will continue to do what we must do to maintain autonomy over our children. Families in this county are already evacuating the State due to these overt attacks on the middle-class family.

In the short term, this community is already coming together to establish a support infrastructure for home schooling, and we will not hesitate to remove our children from an educational system that bends to authoritarian leadership over the best interests of their community. Longer term, we select our government representatives. We prefer those who are willing to listen to this community and stand alongside us.

We choose to fight. Join us or get out of our way.

Note: This statement was originally submitted to the Winters Joint Unified School District Board of Trustees as a public input statement at the Oct. 21 meeting. It was submitted to the Express afterward in its entirety.

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