Live from Music Row Wednesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed MNPS District Six School Board member Fran Bush in studio to weigh in on Tuesday night’s parental discussion with school board members regarding the mask mandates that will be imposed on K-12 students in metro public schools.
Leahy: It is a delight to me to welcome into our studios once again, Fran Bush. The lone voice of reason on the Metro Nashville Public School Board. You are smiling, Fran, because you’ve just emerged from, I don’t know, like, six hours of what would be for me absolute total misery of an after-the-fact Metro Nashville Public School Board meeting.
And they decide last week, eight to one, that, with you being the only voice of reason, to impose these mask mandates. And then they decided last tonight they’re going to hear from parents. Some of the parents got carted out because they wouldn’t wear those stupid masks.
But of those who spoke, tell me a little bit about the arguments that you heard. Which arguments for not having the mask mandate, which parents do you think were most effective, and what arguments did they make?
Bush: I was really impressed with a lot of the speakers last night that were opposed to the mask mandate. They came with science. They came with documentation to prove that masks, especially cloth masks, are not effective.
Especially for our younger students that, of course, are not able to get that vaccine just yet. And so we kind of pounce on those younger children. And it was really frustrating for me to sit there and listen to some of these stories of students having disabilities and how they could not wear the masks.
And more importantly, our younger students that are K-4, especially K-1, K-2, are still looking at pronunciation. We’re looking at articulation. These are what teachers look at. We look at phonics and these kinds of things we have to see the children’s mouths, so that we can be able to best guide them.
And unfortunately, this is not gonna be the case. Now, keep in mind, you’ve got kindergarteners going to first grade that did not get a kindergarten year.
Leahy: They’re behind already.
Bush: They are already behind. So not being able to see their little faces really does become a challenge for those teachers. And that’s one of many things that stuck out to me. And it was made a recommendation to say, okay, if we’re going to do this then we need to purchase clear masks for these students.
And, of course, Dr. Battle sat there and really didn’t even entertain it. She didn’t even make reference to the idea of doing that. And it’s just so frustrating to see this board and Dr. Battle.
Leahy: This is what’s interesting, the frustration. This is Kabuki Theater that is designed to create the pretense that the board members and the director of schools actually are listening to the arguments made. They’re not listening.
They’re just sitting there because you got to check the box off, right? That we had a public comment? That’s my view. Do I have that wrong?
Bush: No, you’re exactly right. During these public comments, it’s really about just allowing the public to come in and speak, but that’s pretty much it. There’s really no action behind it afterward unless there’s some type of agenda that comes up.
But this was all orchestrated by the superintendent and also by Mayor Cooper to put this mask mandate in right before school started and not allowing at that time the public participation or letting parents weigh in on their decisions. It was orchestrated.
And it was by design that this is what they were going to do. And we did have a plan. There was a plan to transition our students back into the classroom, and then we start to monitor the variance and to see if it was going to be an uptick. And if we needed to make adjustments, then we would do it at that time.
Leahy: But they had a secret plan in other words.
Bush: They had another secret plan.
Leahy: Yes. Which is basically to jam it down the throats of the parents who – many of them don’t want it. Would you say of those who spoke, what percentage spoke in favor of the mask mandates, the parents? And what percentage were opposed to the mask mandates?
Bush: It was very interesting. It was 50/50, actually. It was really interesting because we had several parents that came and they brought the material to show the board that there is a huge uptick amongst our children.
Hospitals are overflowing. It was interesting to see their charts. Everybody had different charts to impress upon the board that you did the right thing.
Leahy: So here’s the first step of the argument. There is an increasing number of cases of COVID-19. Did they say that was among children?
Bush: That’s what they say.
Leahy: That’s what they say. And I’ve seen some reports to that effect. And then I’ve seen an increasing number of hospitalizations. I haven’t seen any increased morbidity among kids from COVID-19.
And I haven’t seen those reports. But what’s interesting is, did anybody then say these cases are increasing? And here is the science that shows this particular action that will stop the spread. Did they go to that level?
Bush: Because you have medical professionals, which I totally respect, that have said – and this is coming from their stance, those who want the mask mandate – is that the mask works.
Leahy: I hear this from medical professionals. We hear it from the far left propaganda group known as the American Pediatric Association. They say it. But, what I’ve noticed is when a parent says, well, doctors say we should, you get a statement from an organization.
But then you say, well, doctor, what medical evidence, what clinical studies can you show the masks work? This is where they go silent.
Bush: It’s so confusing because the mask, it’s just one level. But it’s not all as far as protection. Keep in mind our children, you and I, we touch everything. Right? So we’re not wearing gloves. Our eyes are part of our bodies as an organ, too.
And guess what? They touch their eyes. They touch everything. So because this is so airborne, it’s just not the mask that gives 100 percent protection. And so that’s what I worry about. I worry about the other ways that we can transmit this virus.
Leahy: Fran, we’ll be back with that and more after this.
Listen to the full second hour here:
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