Open Schools in September or NO TAXES!

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PETITION

June 14, 2020

Introduction:  “Society in every state is a blessing, but government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one; for when we suffer, or are exposed to the same miseries by a government, which we might expect in a country without a government, our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer.”   Thomas Paine, 1775 Common Sense.

We the undersigned are the society of parents, children and/or community property owners that are suffering from the unnecessary and absurd lock down of our schools and we will no longer furnish the means by which we are suffering!

Benjamin Franklin wrote in 1773 that, “another way to make your tax odious, is to misapply the Produce of it…in augmented Salaries or Pensions to every [official] who has distinguished himself by his Enmity to the People…”  Rules by Which a Great Empire May Be Reduced.

We the undersigned will no longer allow you to misapply the produce, especially when you declare yourself our enemy and shut our schools.  We will not allow you to hide behind the Governor, nor blame Albany, nor claim any longer that “our hands are tied”.  These are our Schools, this is our education system, and these are our Children!  You will answer to us, or we will withhold our School Tax payment for the 2020-2021 school year.   We are neither your partner in education, nor are we “in this together” as you like to say!  Rather, our children have been at home deprived of social interactions, which is a crucial component of a child’s development - there is no substitution for face to face interaction!  Additionally, our children have missed out on the benefits of direct personal instruction, the camaraderie and life lessons borne out of athletic competition and other extracurricular activities, and the overall beneficial experience that grammar, middle and high school life produces.  This despite all the while the system  goes on feeding its own salaries, health insurance and pensions.  That is not a partnership, that is theft!

Effort has been made by school districts to continue education but in a ‘new’, rather ineffective way. As a school administrator, you must have some classroom teaching experience and realize that there is simply no substitution for face to face- teacher to student, student to student, teacher to teacher interaction. On-line lessons through Zoom, google-classroom and other programs used are simply ineffective. A majority of students who log-in to this ‘distance learning’ are simply NOT learning.  They are going through the motions of simply getting work done and turned in.  In a traditional school setting, teachers are required to provide individualized lessons to meet the learning style and needs of all students, something that is impossible to achieve through a computer screen.  In addition, what about the students with IEPs, 504 Plans and other learning obstacles?  They have completely fallen through the cracks.  This ‘new’ way of teaching/learning is ‘non-argumentatively’ pointless if learning and development are the goals for our children, your students.

The events of the past few weeks, including  the large scale re-opening of businesses, the protests and riots countywide and statewide, including watching our local elected ‘leaders’ stand shoulder to shoulder at ‘protests’ with thousands in attendance have only strengthened our belief and resolve that the alleged dangers of Covid-19 are in the rear view mirror.  The hypocrisy is mind-numbing.  The conclusion is crystal clear however:  We will not stay locked down, and our children will return to normalcy in September at school.  You will not mask them, you will not scare them and you should take heed of your own “anti-bully” posters that ‘grace’ the building walls, and know that our children will come back feeling safe and secure and the “old normal” will flourish!

The following relevant statistics support our position, not yours:

Children represent 1.7% of all confirmed cases of Covid-19.

The Covid-19 US death rate (general) is 0.06%.  Children represent 0.02% of those virus fatalities in the U.S.

The Undersigned hereby vow, under threat of civil action and penalty, including property tax liens and foreclosures, to withhold indefinitely all school tax payments to our respective school districts and we will take steps to suspend or cancel direct bank escrow payments until such time as our grievances are addressed and schools are fully operational.  We truly regret that you have put us in this position, but now you must respond in a manner that will get us all out of it.