Central School Board Bows to Mask Order Despite Pleas of Parents, Atty. Gen. Opinion

 On Aug. 25, the Central Community School Board held its second meeting on the subject of whether to comply with Gov. John Bel Edwards’ mask “mandate.” Earlier in the summer, Edwards ordered public and private schools in the state to require students and teachers to wear masks throughout the eight-hour school day.

The second hearing ended in much the same way as the first.  School board members said how much they hated masks but that it was “the law.”

In response to questions from parents about what law, board president Dr. Jim Gardner cited La.R.S. 29:724 et seq., i.e., the Governor’s Emergency Powers Act.  However, nothing in that act gives the governor any of the major powers he has exercised, including the power to lockdown the state, order the closure of businesses, or order people to wear masks.  The Emergency Powers Act lists certain defined powers of the governor in an emergency, and none of those powers are listed.

Louisiana Attorney Gen. Jeff Landry, the state’s chief legal advisor, has written two major Attorney General opinions on why the governor’s mask orders are unconstitutional, but the Central School Board said they choose to rely instead on their own legal counsel, the firm of Hammond, Sills, Adkins & Guice, which says the governor’s orders are valid.  A partner in that firm is Alexandro R. Perkins, a former law clerk to Judge Wilson Fields and Gov. Edwards’ appointee to be Chairman of the Louisiana Board of Supervisors for Colleges and Universities.

Central School Board members often deflect questions from the public by saying they are taking the advice of their lawyers, but the lawyers never ome to explain their legal reasoning, nor does the school board explain their lawyers’ interpretation of what law gives the governor the power to order masking of students.

When asked by parent Brittney Sherlin what studies have shown that masks are safe for students to wear all day, school board member Dr. Keith Holmes said there are no such studies.  

In the August edition of the Central City News, the lead article cited an extensive study of New York City health care workers who reported health problems from wearing masks throughout the day. 91 percent of the workers cited headaches, acne, skin breakdown, and/or impaired cognition from mask wearing. In an interview this week, school board Dr. Keith Holmes said the study was not a double blind, placebo controlled study. However, the study is not of a treatment or a cure for a disease, but rather a report of the health problems of health care workers from wearing masks, which does not lend itself to a double blind, placebo controlled study.

Testimony by parents and grandparents at the meeting included the following. No member of the public spoke in favor of the mask mandate.

BRITTANY SHERLIN: I just want to clarify that the mask order is not state law. It is not a law. However, it reminds me of something that was law. And that was slavery. Slavery was law, it was actually against the law to free slaves. So which side of history do you want to stand on? Dr. Holmes, you mentioned that you’re a physician. So I have a couple of questions for you. Can you provide us with a study? Any study on the masking of children long term for eight hours a day? 

DR. HOLMES: Does not exist.Never been done, has never been done?

BRITTANY: So how can you with a good conscience sit up there and tell us that it’s safe for our children to be masked all day? Mr. Phil, you can’t stop touching your mask? What about bacteria on these masks that are on our children’s faces?  

DR. HOLMES:  Please show me a study that shows that it is harmful to them. Such a study is not there, either. There’s been no study. 

BRITTANY: There’s actually been 47 studies and I’ve sent them to each of you. 

DR. HOLMES: Not peer reviewed double blind, placebo controlled. 

BRITTANY: Neither has vaccines. I mean, we all know these vaccines have not been double blind placebo controlled. How about bacteria on the mask? Since you’re a physician, children are playing on the playground. Yeah, having put some antibacterial stuff on their hands. But y’all can’t stop touching your masks. How are children going to? Do you think parents are washing them every night? 

DR. HOLMES: I would hope that they have more than one mask. And I hope that the child would go to school every day with a clean set of masks.

BRITTANY: I have a third grader. She would be touching it constantly. She would be taking it off. She would be playing with it. She put it down when she goes to the potty or when she eats lunch. That’s not sanitary. It’s disgusting. And you know, that’s where our waste is excreted. You’re asking people to hold literal waste on their faces all day long. That’s disgusting. Okay, I have another question that I have not been able to get the answer. How are private schools able to get around this masked mandate, but public schools aren’t? Can you answer that for me? How are private schools in our state able to offer waivers of liability and religious and philosophical exemptions, but you cannot?

DR. GARDNER: We can’t tell you anything about private schools. So no, we can’t tell you.

BRITTANY: But if you’re standing behind the governor’s mask mandate, there are other schools in Central who offered a liability waiver and a religious and philosophic exemption to their parents. When we presented our philosophical and religious exemptions to you, they were denied. I need to know why your attorneys told us otherwise? 

DR GARDNER: So we got a statement from our attorneys. They say they disagree with the Attorney General said. In their opinion, the governor has the right and responsibility to address dangers to the state and its citizens. And we have to follow that mandate.  LA R.S. 29:724. You want to look it up? And you can come up here and say that it’s not state law if you want. But we know that.

BRITTANY: Okay, but that doesn’t answer my question. 

DR. GARDNER: I don’t know. We can’t control the private schools. 

BRITTANY: They’re not afraid of the liability. They’re giving parents the choice. Maybe you guys were willing to give parents the choice before this. And now you’re sitting up there saying that we should wear masks all the time? I’m confused, because  it was an executive order mandated also to the private schools. I watched the governor stand at his press conference and say, this applies to all schools, private and public. So how are the private schools getting around this mandate? I have to know this because they’re breaking the executive order. Well, why aren’t they in jail? 

DR. GARDNER: If they’re breaking the law, you’ll have to take up with the Attorney General and the governor.

BRITTANY: I have taken it up with them!  I’ve sent you guys the attorney general’s opinion.

RICH HOPKINS: My name is Rich from Greenwell Springs.  It’s a shame that the two teachers died. However, two out of 500 is not 4 percent, as you said Dr. Holmes. It’s 4/10ths of one percent! So that’s a little different. Okay, I’m not sure how you contrive some of your other facts?  I work at a welding facility. One day after the mask mandate, a couple of concerned employees wanted to test the masks. We do confined space welding.  And they have to go in with a monitor. And that monitor will beep when the oxygen level gets low enough so that it’s dangerous for the individual to stay in. Well, they put one of those monitors under the mask, like you are wearing in this meeting. Within three to five seconds, that monitor beeps, which is an indication of insufficient oxygen levels to stay in that confined space. We would pull that person out. They’re not safe. Sir, you can’t disagree with reality.

It lowers your oxygen saturation. 

There’s a lot of bad information out there is my point. It’s being used to manipulate us and control us. When is this thing going to stop? The science is not there. They change this stuff all the time, mask, no mask, double mask, triple mask, Fauci masks, designer masks, whatever. They keep this thing going. And they’re going to end up mandating vaccinations.  Where would you be if they did mandate vaccinations for your teachers, your employees and all this stuff? 

Okay, now, I have a copy of Kim’s conscientious objection form for religious and philosophical objections. It’s an absolute wonderful document. 

Louisiana has very strong religious exemptions, and philosophical exemption protections for its citizens. Okay. It’s great. I wish you could get it to your teachers and to the parents. And let’s see what they think.  What would you do, though, if a teacher or a parent would come in with that conscientious objection?  Do you have the right to deny it? When state law states that we 

have that right? Which rights get subjugated to another’s mandate in a situation like this? Do you have a process to receive religious and philosophical exemptions from your students or parents?  

Masks fall into that category as well. Masks are unhealthy. You can say masks are not unhealthy. Although I know better. They don’t do anything. The science is that masks don’t do anything. They offer very little if any protection at all. There are some great YouTube videos right now unless the social media and Google have taken them down. Have some pathologists, immunologists, these vaccine gurus, putting forth the facts about what happens to the body under mask stress. Okay. I don’t know that I have anything more to say, because I don’t know if really, we made much of an effect. It really doesn’t sound like it because I think I heard your conclusion. You’re not going to do anything about masks. You’re going to follow the governor and his moronic, non-science based, politically driven agenda to keep us down, which will eventually lead to no good. Thank you very much. 

CAROL JACKSON: Hello, I’m Carol Jackson from Greenwell Springs. Two of my children have been sick. So nobody’s denying that this is not a real thing. We know it’s a real thing. However, a lot of the information that’s out there is not based on science. And a lot of the experts that I’ve listened to as well, as these world renowned microbiologists, neurologists, immunologists, have come out and said, because that’s their specialty. 

I’m sure Dr. Holmes, you realize that when you’re in specialized medicine, you know that specialty, right? You are a primary care physician. You know your specialty.  You don’t know everybody else’s specialty. You know why? Because you don’t have time.  I know, I used to work at one of the major hospitals. I see how hard you work. I see how hard the nurses work. I see how dedicated they are. And I’ve always respected them. But they are following the protocol from the hospital. Plain and simple. I used to print the forms out myself. The hospital lists the disease. You follow this, this and this? Who’s making the decisions? Bureaucrats and administrators? So the doctor treating the patient pretty much doesn’t have any other choice. He has to go with what protocol says unless he wants to face discipline or perhaps termination.  My thing is I don’t think what’s happening at the hospitals is working. I don’t think the masks are working. The vaccines aren’t working and the protocols of hospitals aren’t working. If it was, wouldn’t be in the shape we’re in now? I mean, honestly, do you think we would?

So something’s not right. What’s not right. A lot of things aren’t right. I would like to talk about one thing that was brought out, we’re protected by the Louisiana Constitution.

The vaccine is not preventing the disease. It’s not a vaccine-preventable disease. Why spike proteins are coming off of the people who have the vaccines? That’s been proven. It’s been everywhere. So you can’t deny that vaccinated people are getting sick. So what’s going on? But the point is, regardless, people have the right to say no.  And if our rights are going to be continued to be eroded that’s gonna happen to you too. But have you have asked the parents? Have you asked the kids? How do you feel about the masks? How the parents feel about the masks? What’s happening to the kids? No, nobody cares!  So you’re gonna have to look at yourself, because we’re all going to be judged by Higher Power. And I hope that you all do the right thing. Thank you.

JESSICA CREAMER: Hi, I’m a graduate of Central. My daughter has been in Central schools since pre K. She has always made good grades without even really trying. She has never been in trouble. But last year, I received recorded calls about three times a week, some were for grades, some were from mistakes on behalf of the teacher and putting info in the system late. And she also received a few infractions, which was a first for her. Three of them were due to not follow following COVID guidelines, such as following the arrows the wrong way, or walking the wrong way to the gym, which was implemented for their safety. And to think I was worried about the change in my child, she didn’t get in trouble. 

Truth is she didn’t change, her school did! Last week, my daughter came home and told me about a fight that took place between two girls in the quad and a teacher trying to break up the fight was hit several times. That was on Tuesday, I believe. On Thursday, those two girls returned to school. There are children being banned from attending school for not wearing masks, yet two girls barely get a tap on the wrist. In my day, both kids would have been expelled. That’s unacceptable. 

A new study from the CDC shows blue surgical masks are 10 percent effective. I saw that today. Our children are not allowed to breathe oxygen freely as God intended. For what reason? Exactly? Do you have any viable evidence proving they’re effective against transmission? There has to be negative effects of long-term mask wearing — mental, social, physical, but no studies have been done. I’ve done hours upon hours of research.  

I wouldn’t be standing up here right now if you’d done any of your own instead of just following orders! 

I pay very close attention to what’s going on globally, which is important, because what happens if one country trickles down to us especially now? 

Does anyone even know what’s happening in Australia? Australian authorities are placing papers on the doors of homes signaling to citizens that someone inside is under quarantine. These people are not allowed to leave their homes. If they do, they face prison time and fines. Their neighbors are encouraged to snitch on them if they are seen going outdoors — even in their own backyards. Children are being removed from their parents and brought to a quarantine stadium where they are being vaccinated. 

Something has been seriously off this entire time for me. I asked God for discernment. And He always shows up. At one point I honestly believed no way this will happen to my community — not Central. Yet, here we are: LSU students, state employees, health care workers are all being mandated to get vaccinated or lose their jobs or rights to attend school in person. And at a New Orleans high school on Monday students who were vaccinated for regular clothes and those who aren’t vaccinated were required to wear school uniforms.  Modern day segregation!  

I’m not sure anything we parents say or do will change your agenda. But I refuse to lay down and accept it without a fight. 

Whether you realize it or not, you along with political leaders are complicit in harming our children. It’s not too late to change. The time is now. You should ask yourself, what side of history you are on? 

JAMIE JACKSON: My name is Jamie Jackson. I just came here to say that you’d mentioned liabilities of not wearing a mask and facing financial loss. But I want to make you aware that there are disastrous things happening to children that you don’t see in the media, and you definitely won’t see on Facebook anymore. There was #1000s of Reports.  It was taken down very quickly and censored. 

There were children passing out, low saturation levels, hypoxia, seizures, and catching COVID while masked. Now I want to talk about that because you know, this lady said she’s having a hard time breathing through her mask. Well, if you can breathe through it, you can catch COVID through it. Even the N95 masks don’t stop COVID. That’s why when you go to the hospital, we see the staff wearing hazmat suits, and unless any of you are willing to wear hazmat suits, you’re going to catch COVID. The particles are just too small. 

Those masks don’t do anything. My sister had her two children sent home from school the very first and second day of school. All the kids were masked. 

Which brings me to Dr. Kanter, the top medical official of the Louisiana Department of Health said at the health and welfare committee on August 16. 95 percent of the cases the COVID cases in Louisiana right now are of the Delta strain. Okay. He later said that they’re doing away with the PCR test because they can’t differentiate between the variants like the new test can. So he stated the new tests will be able to differentiate between the flu, RSV pneumonia and other COVID like illnesses and variants. “COVID like” he kept using that word — Covid like. A test that cannot determine between COVID, RSV and other respiratory illnesses, who’s to say that the school will be not liable for a child that will come down or contracts COVID, which is the only thing they’re tested for. But instead secondary pneumonia infection from mandating the wearing of these masks, which is what a lot of doctors are saying they’re seeing pneumonia, not COVID. They’re not saying it’s coming from COVID. Specifically, they’re saying there’s RSP, they’re stuck. 

There’s all these illnesses involved, because these PCR tests don’t differentiate between them. Yet, the only test they’re willing to run are these COVID numbers they want this case counts high than what the federal funding is high. And I think it’s ridiculous. And I think it’s time you ask yourself, if you want to keep wearing these masks, and you want to keep calling it COVID. Why not look at something else, because there are bacteria, there are pathogens that these masks are trapping. All these children, these otherwise healthy children that have immune systems. I know you hear about what happens to people who aren’t masked. That’s been blown out of proportion for sure. It’s a minority, but that’s what the media is going to report on. And I think it’s a shame that there are things happening to these children that you won’t hear about because there’s poor families are left to suffer without any means. 

BRITTANY: Next question, Who are your attorneys? 

JASON: Hammond and Sills 

BRITTANY: When is the next school board election?  

SHARON BROWNING: It doesn’t sound like the anti-mask camp has much support on this board. 

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