Evidence of America becoming a place where everything gets “politicized” came into a glaring light with the COVID pandemic. Americans made basic health precautions like mask wearing and social distancing political footballs as people died. Propagandists thrived on social media spreading misinformation. Some of those off-the-wall theories were parrotted by former President Donald Trump and other prominent conservatives, which only increased the spread of lies — leaving science in a dusty cloud. Now that America is racing to get vaccinated, the unfortunate misinformation is threatening to harm some Florida school children.
Parents of students at Centner Academy say they are alarmed after the private school’s co-founder sent an email Monday outlining the school’s policy against COVID-19 vaccines.
Centner Academy has campuses in Miami’s Design District and Edgewater. School co-founder Leila Centner wrote to parents, without citing any scientific evidence, saying “vaccinated persons may be transmitting something from their bodies that could harm others who aren’t vaccinated — impacting fertility and the development of children.”
An earlier notice to staff and faculty told them to wait until after the school year ends if they want to get a vaccine, and that those who got shots wouldn’t be able to return to school “until clinical trials [on the vaccines] are complete (if a position is still available at that time).”
So essentially, these teachers will lose their job if they dare get vaccinated.
When Americans tolerate everything, including allowing conspiracy theories and nonsense to have equal footing with science and facts, this is what we get, apparently. Now those “opinions” are adversely affecting children’s lives and people’s jobs.
Fortunately, parents are standing up to this nonsense, or at least they are trying to stand up to it.
“Flabbergasted. I was wondering if it was even illegal,” said one parent, who didn’t want to be identified.
“It’s more than dangerous,” another parent said. “I am super scared that my kids are going to be brainwashed because they are so young.”
Other parents say they had complained when the school was not enforcing mask use indoors.
Leila Centner has been openly critical of vaccines on her social media, but parents say that trying to stop teachers from getting a vaccine goes too far.
Dr. Aileen Marty, an infectious disease expert at Florida International University, agrees, calling the school’s policy “completely irresponsible.”
“It is spreading rumors about something that is completely unfounded. There is absolutely no basis in fact in any of the allegations that are made against the vaccine there,” Marty added.
Public school teachers are saying the policy punishes educators trying to protect themselves and their families.
“It is infringing upon these educators’ rights,” said Karla Hernandez-Mats, President of the United Teachers of Dade. “These educators have the right to get vaccinated if they choose to.”
Some parents commented that they’ve already paid tuition in full, at around $25,000 a year.
“Stuck. Everyone is stuck,” a parent said. “No one can remove their kids and now we have another 7 and a half weeks to go.”
The school refuses to refund any portion of the tuition if the parents wish to not indulge Centner’s conspiracies.
Adding to the mess, some parents, without evidence, pointed towards other conspiracies and unfounded rumors to justify the school’s actions.
For example, a parent identified as “Jennifer” who had at least 1 child attending the Florida school said, “There have been thousands of reports of adverse reactions in those who have not received the jab, from being around those who have.” (Editor’s Note: there is no evidence suggesting this is true)
Centner also sent a statement to a local news station that read in part: “We are not 100% sure the COVID injections are safe and there are too many unknown variables for us to feel comfortable at this current time.”
As they say, this is why we can’t have nice things. It is one thing when these wing-nut conspiracy theories are thrown around a barroom or chatroom. It becomes an entirely different and more dangerous monster when those crackpot theories shape policy in a Florida school or other institutions that we used to rely on for truth.