Opine I will

I am a retired elementary school teacher just trying to do the right thing

Archive for the month “July, 2020”

First Amendment Rights in Jeopardy

‎This kid held a march with 50 people ( mostly high school students) and the Floral Park Police Commissioner in the Village Floral Park, NY just did this.

The march went off without a hitch and the participants walked on the sidewalks from one high school to another one in the same village. Disclaimer:This used to be my home town. Please spread the news of this unjustifiable bullying tactic to shut down First Amendment Rights.

This is Dylan’s post as copied off Facebook…

Dylan Slavin‎ toOpen Floral Park17h

On July 2nd, I contacted the Floral Park Police department about organizing a protest march in the name of the Black Lives Matter movement. Over the course of a week, through emails and phone calls, SGT. Mayo, the Police Commissioner Stephen McAllister, and I agreed to terms for the march. I felt confident that I had the support of the police department. I posted the details of the march on social media and almost immediately I received a phone call from the Commissioner asking me to meet with him at the police station.

On July 6th we had concerns over weather and safety of the protest. I was unable to reach the Police Commissioner through phone, so I had emailed SGT. Dean Mayo with a new flyer, updated route, and time/date of where we would be having the protest. I got confirmation from SGT Mayo who had said, “Thanks. I did alert the Commissioner to the change. It is likely that you will hear from him tomorrow.”. We took this as confirmation that the Commissioner understood the information provided to him and was okay with it since there was no indication from SGT Mayo that there was a problem, so we had posted the new info on social media.

It was not until the next day that the Commissioner’s tone towards me had changed. I was reprimanded for posting the event on social media without “directly talking to him” and suddenly the terms of the march had changed. So, with this I had told the Commissioner that this would be organized through Nassau County Police instead. Subsequently, I also contacted the Nassau County Police Department for guidance and the plans were well received. The police chief informed me that he had already spoken with the Floral Park Police Commissioner and was aware of the day’s sequence of events. Again, with no contest from the Commissioner.

The Black Lives Matter march was a success! We had tremendous support from the community. Our voices were heard and amplified in unison, rallying a need for change for our friends, family and neighbors of color. It was a proud day to know that our community can and will effect change. It was a peaceful and respectful exercise in our First Amendment rights.

Immediately after the protest, my friends were notifying me that summonses were being issued. Within a day, a Floral Park police officer delivered the summons pictured below to appear in Village court in September for violating code 32-2: “§ 32-2 Disorderly and noisy conduct. It shall be unlawful for any person or persons to indulge in disorderly, noisy or riotous conduct at any place in the Village tending to disturb the peace and quiet in the Village or tending to disrupt or disturb any meeting or lawful assemblage therein.”

Not at any time during my conversations with the Police Commissioner or the Sergeant was I told that I, or any activity of the march, would be in violation of village code. I have spoken with the organizers of the two BLM marches in the Village that occurred on June 4th(at Veterans Memorial Park), and June 14th titled “Fists Up for BLM”, and they were not required to apply for permits nor did they receive any village code violations.

I truly believe that I was “punished” for organizing our right to protest. I believe that this summons is supposed to discourage future plans for BLM marches and protests in the Village. I believe the Police Commissioner exhibited abuse of power simply out of spite. We will continue to raise our voices. We will continue to speak up. We will cooperate with law enforcement to practice our right to protest, but we will not be intimidated.

Now is not the time.

Now is not the time to open schools!

Yes, I know we need to get the economy open. I know parents need to get back to work. I know children are losing important time in school. I know all the reasons why we need to open schools. Unfortunately, now is not the time.

We keep hearing that we need more testing, more contact tracing, social distancing, and masks. Even if we had 100% compliance ( which we are nowhere near), is it worth the risk?

We don’t know the long term effects of Covid. We are not pouring money and assets into school buildings to upgrade their ventilation systems, expanding to accommodate 6′ social distance spacing, or the proper training of teachers and other staff members that will need to work in a potentially high infectious environment.

When the policy makers are meeting in virtual meeting rooms from their respective “bunkers” to decide whether children and teachers should be together in a classroom, we should all be able to see through their smoke and mirrors to know something is wrong.

Governor Cuomo today told us all that as long as the infection rate stays below 5% of those tested schools may open. That rate then can go up to 9% after the decision has been made to open. Really? 5% then 9%?? How about 0% Governor?

Are we really willing to gamble with the lives of children and school staff members when we could possible see and end to this nightmare when a vaccine is developed, hopefully soon. Are we unwilling to sacrifice from September to January to protect all children and school personnel?

Our scientists still admit that they do not have a handle on this. They are seeing spikes, they are seeing younger people and children getting infected at higher rates than in April. They are seeing terrible long term issues for those infected. They are also seeing some getting reinfected.

The Trump administration has no plan to open schools. The CDC is about to issue revised guidance for schools because Trump and Pence say the original guidance is too hard to comply with. The US Education Department has no plan to monitor or give guidance to schools.

We already know the federal and some state governments take no issue with kids getting gunned down in their classrooms. We already know states have been underfunding schools for years (especially Cuomo). We already know that teachers have been made the national scapegoats by those looking to takeover public schools for financial gain. So what makes us believe anything they say?

Yes, some parents need to get back to work, especially essential workers. Some children with special needs or other issues need essential educational services. Come up with a plan to help them and stop bailing out corporate big wigs and those politically connected but rather financially support those that really need the help.

We are at war. A war against a virus. If we were invaded and fighting a ground war in the US would we be discussing putting children in classrooms?

My question to all of you is this.. how many deaths due to schools opening are acceptable to you? And while I am ranting, what about all those kids Trump still has locked up in cages?

Covid and school ventilation

Ventilation systems in most schools are outdated and barely work as designed. Even before Covid teachers often felt the effect of poor ventilation in their rooms. Research shows that when room air is not adequately vented out and replace with fresh air CO2 levels rise sharply in s short period of time and as those levels increase cognitive abilities decline by 50% or more.

Now add Covid to this toxic environment. If school ventilation system fail to provide fresh air before Covid, what do you think will happen with Covid? So my question is really this, why haven’t school districts, and states remediated while school buildings were closed?

This is not rocket science! Clean those univents and filters in classrooms, install new ones where needed, and add exhaust fans.

Spacing desks 6′ apart is not enough, cleaning surfaces is not enough! If the air quality is poor all of that will not matter.

The Feds and states must pour money into our school infrastructure if they want to open the economy. Forget the corporate bailouts, for once in my lifetime I would love our nation to put schools at the top of a national priority and support them with the funding needed.

Keep schools closed ( for now)

I am concerned with the latest “semi push” to open schools. Yes, there are emotional and economic concerns that should be part of this discussion. However, the ultimate safety of children, teachers, and other staff members must trump ( sorry about how that word has been ruined) all others.

Until there is a vaccine, an effective treatment, or even instantaneous testing, there will always be a risk. The question that seems to be morphing is, just what percentage of casualties to this virus are we willing to accept? I say 0%.

It is looking like we may have a vaccine or other treatment by the beginning of next year. Until then, keep schools closed. Look for alternative ways to meet the emotional needs of students, financially assist those who must stay home to care for their children, provide broadband and equipment to those who need it.

Look, I am no lover of remote instruction. I hate it, it does not work. What it does do though, is let us continue to tread water until we can swim.

As this pandemic continues to worsen, let’s not lose sight that this discussion has turned into yet another distraction to our national crisis.

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