As Halloween approaches, Louisiana state troopers want everyone to make sure safety is a top priority. As children in costumes walk and ride through neighborhoods across the parish, parents and guardians should be aware of possible hazards and dangerous situations.
To ensure that trick-or-treating is a safe and memorable event for everyone, Louisiana State Police recommends by following these common safety tips:
Ensure that your child remains as visible as possible by carrying a flashlight or glow stick, and/or wearing reflective clothing or costumes to alert drivers of the child’s location.
Remember that masks can restrict vision and breathing, restricting sight of oncoming vehicles. Face painting is a safer option.
Avoid potential tripping hazards, such as costumes that drag on the ground.
Accompany children so they do not enter homes or vehicles without permission.
Plan your trick-or-treating route in familiar neighborhoods with well-lit streets.
Remember to walk on sidewalks when available. If walking on the street is necessary, pedestrians should walk on the left side of the road facing traffic.
Children should also know their address, phone number, and how to dial 911for emergencies. Young children should have this information attached somewhere on their costumes in the event they get separated or lost.
Parents are urged to inspect all candy for safety after returning home.
Motorists should also use caution and drive slowly through residential areas and intersections leading to neighborhoods. Trick-or-treaters may run across the street without looking for vehicles or their vision could be obscured by masks. Also, Troopers ask that you drive with your headlights on, even during daylight and dusk hours, so that other vehicles and pedestrians can see you from farther distances.
Under current State Law, it is illegal for a registered sex offender to participate in Halloween trick-or-treat activities. Parents can find accurate information regarding the presence of sex offenders and predators in their neighborhoods by visiting the Louisiana Sex Offender and Child Predator Registry online at: http://www.lsp.org/socpr/default.html. If you become aware of a sex offender who is attending costume parties or giving out candy where children are present, notify your local law enforcement immediately.
Halloween has also been a deadly night due to impaired drivers. Adults that take part in Halloween parties and trick-or-treating while consuming alcoholic beverages are strongly encouraged to have a plan for a safe ride home. Your plan can include utilizing a ridesharing service, taxi or having a designated driver. Troopers ask that sober party-goers also help out by keeping impaired friends from getting behind the wheel.
As you are probably aware, October is National Pastor Appreciation Month. Being raised as a pastor’s child it was very difficult to appreciate the pastor when he was a resident of my own home. Seeing your pastor once a week leaves room for the old saying, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder”. Living with a preacher was a whole different story. It’s a good story but it’s a different story.
Many people do not get to see the behind the scenes work that pastors do and the amount of studying and preparation that goes into a Sunday message or just merely opening the doors for a church service. The pastor is the first one to church in the mornings and the last to leave. Their children and spouses have a front row seat to all of these festivities. Tending to the flock is a full time job and sometimes it takes the pastor’s wife and children to work as a team to ensure that everything is taken care of.
Pastors are known for inviting random people over for Sunday lunch in a moments notice. Their family must be prepared for this. They are known for leaving in the middle of meals because someone is in need. Their family must be prepared for this. They are known to travel across the country to perform a wedding or a funeral. Their family must be prepared for this. Sometimes they even have the tough jobs of delivering bad news to unsuspecting people or their own church family.
No one is prepared for this.
One of the heaviest burdens to bear as a pastor is that they must perform all of these duties without showing the slightest bit of wavering faith. After all, they are our spiritual heroes and always have the right words to share. If the pastor has a bad day or not feeling his best, the whole flock will be able to tell it.
It reminds me of a turbulent flight. If the flight attendants are worried then the passengers are equally worried. Same thing with a church, if the pastor loses his faith then the flock will follow.
Sometimes what preachers don’t talk about is the need to be tended to as well. Please don’t confuse this as a paid advertisement from local preachers. But in some respects it could be read as a reminder that pastors need prayer and encouragement as well. Pastors constantly pour from their cup and often need it filled again. Pastor-fatigue is a real thing and it is easily cured with support and constant prayer from the church family.
It’s an incredibly easy task to sit on a pew and judge every word, every movement, every mispronunciation of a word or missed scripture when you aren’t the one standing behind the pulpit after having prepared all week for the perfect message to deliver to the flock.
I am probably preaching to the choir but I sincerely pray you spent October appreciating your pastor and all of their hard work. If you haven’t, it’s not too late. If you feel so inclined, I am sure they would appreciate your prayers all year long and not just confine it to the fall season of the year.
“And I will you give you shepherds after my own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding.” Jeremiah 3:15
“And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers” Ephesians 4:11
When it comes to soft plastic lures, one thing anglers will say is that “color does not matter.” But I’m going to give my perspective on why it does. For years both novice and professional bass fishermen have made a case for why the color of your bait doesn’t matter. They say it’s more about the presentation than it is the color of the bait itself. This may be true in some isolated cases, but if that’s true, then why do manufacturers make soft plastic worms in so many colors? Is it to catch fish or is it to catch anglers?
Today’s anglers are overwhelmed with color selection by many of the top name brands like Strike King, V&M, Gary Yamamoto, Zoom, and Reaction Innovation, just to name a few. Each of these manufacturers produce some of the best soft plastics ever made. But colors in the bass fishing world are not your standard red, blue or greens. They have very creative names like red bug, tequila sunrise, green pumpkin, watermelon and my personal favorite, black emerald. Bait companies are even more creative than the original box of 64 crayons when it comes to color options. You may remember this from your childhood days when Crayola crayons had names like Brick Red, Burnt Orange, Chestnut, and even Bittersweet. But today’s box of crayons might include Inchworm, Granny Smith Apple, Caribbean Green, Tropical Rainforest, or my personal favorite Permanent Geranium Lake. Who comes up with these names? How is a child or an angler today, suppose to understand or learn the different color pallets of this magnitude?
Well, bass fishermen new to the industry are in the same boat. How is an angler supposed to know the difference between crab apple or plum? Well crab apple, also known as red bug by some companies, are red worms with green flake. But back in the day when soft plastic baits were first invented by Nick Crème of Crème Lures, crab apple was the original red worm with green flake. By the way, it was at the Cleveland Sportsman’s Show in 1951 that Nick Crème introduced and sold over 9600 packs of soft plastic worms which jumpstarted the soft plastic industry. Today the king of soft plastics is a company by the name of Zoom, which started manufacturing soft plastic baits in 1977.
As you can see, the color pallets of the bass fishing world all depend on what company is producing the baits. But does color really matter when it comes to catching bass? I say yes, because I’ve seen days where you can throw red bugs and then switch to green pumpkin and start catching fish. Just like this past August, I was pre-fishing for a tournament on Sam Rayburn and was throwing one of my favorite V&M baits called a Baby Swamp Hog in watermelon/red with basically zero bites in the first three hours. I switched to Gleason Candy and it was like someone turned on a light switch. Making this change in color allowed me to finish in 2nd place in that event. I’m also of the opinion that if color doesn’t matter, then why do they make so many color options for anglers to choose from? Now I will admit that some colors are designed to catch anglers rather than fish, but in general, the array of color choices allows an angler to experiment and try something that maybe the bass have not seen.
So, the next time you’re in your favorite tackle store, make sure you know what color soft plastic you’re looking for. Know the difference between watermelon/red and green pumpkin with red flakes. If you’re not sure, ask someone to help you. Till next time, good luck, good fishing, and don’t forget to set the hook!
Dr. Jackson: The gallbladder is an organ that plays a role in digestion by releasing a fluid called bile into the small intestines. The gallbladder is located near the liver in the upper right quadrant of the abdomen.
Question: Why do gallstones form?
Dr. Jackson: Causes include too much cholesterol or bilirubin in the bile, some blood disorders, or a poorly functioning gallbladder that does not release bile effectively. Each of these can lead to the formation of crystals or pebbles. These solid masses can block the bile ducts and cause an infection and inflammation in the gallbladder.
Question: What are the symptoms of gallstones?
Dr. Jackson: Gallstones can cause sharp pain in the upper right quadrant of the abdomen. Other common symptoms are vomiting, sweating, bloating, flatulence, diarrhea, and fever. An infection can lead to serious illness.
Question: How do you diagnose gallstones?
Dr. Jackson: When a person comes in with pain and illness suggestive of gallstones or other gallbladder issues, we do imaging – CT scan, ultrasound, or sometimes MRI – of the gallbladder to see what’s going on. We look for gallstones and whether or not there are any blockages. We also do blood tests to check for infection and liver enzymes.
Question: When is surgery needed to remove the gallbladder?
Dr. Jackson: When gallstones are blocking the bile ducts causing pain, infection, and inflammation, the condition will not improve on its own, and surgery is needed. There are also other conditions that can lead to removal of the organ. We do most of these surgeries laparoscopically using four small incisions. The recovery is much faster than if we need to do traditional surgery which is done through one larger incision.
Question: Do you need a gallbladder?
Dr. Jackson: The gallbladder serves an important function, but for people with gallstones and gallbladder disease, it is necessary to remove the organ. After removing the gallbladder, the liver continues to produce bile but instead of it going into the gallbladder, the bile goes directly from the liver into the small intestines where it then helps with digestion.
For more information on gallbladder disease or for an appointment with Dr. Jackson, please call 318.214.5770. NRMC General Surgery Associates is in the Multispecialty Clinic, adjacent to NRMC. In an emergency, patients should go to NRMC’s Emergency Department. General Surgery Associates are on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
According to court documents obtained by the Winn Parish Journal, a Workman’s Compensation death benefit claim hearing was held on October 14, 2021, to decide if the disputed claim made by Brandon Slayter, the grandson of Mr. John Kerry, against the Winn Parish Sheriff’s Office was valid.
According to the Disputed Claim for Compensation Form, the incident is described as “Winn Parish Sheriff’s Office employee John Kerry was found lying on the ground on the morning of 7-7-2020 by his great-granddaughter approximately 6 ft behind his truck. The truck door was open. Mr. Kerry appeared to have been assaulted while on the job. The incident was reported to Winn Parish Sheriffs Office. Mr. Kerry’s injuries were contusion to the left eye and face, brain bleed, orbital socket fracture. No one was at the range at the time of the incident, according to the range log. John Kerry passed away from his injuries on 8-21-2020 at St Joseph’s Hospice in Shreveport, LA.”
The minutes from the hearing reveal that the sheriff of Winn Parish has opted out of Workman’s Compensation for all Winn Parish sheriff deputies and that at the time of his death, Mr. Kerry was a sheriff’s deputy and therefore not entitled to Workman’s Comp benefits. Further, Slayter claims that neither he nor his family was aware that their grandfather was a deputy. Slayter also claims that there is no Oath of Office on file at the Winn Parish Clerk of Court’s office that would indicate that Mr. Kerry was ever sworn in as a deputy.
Judge James Braddock, who heard the case, ruled that Mr. Kerry was not entitled to Workman’s Compensation since the Winn Parish sheriff provided a notarized affidavit sworn to before a notary public that says at all times relevant to the claim in the captioned matter, Mr. Kerry was employed part-time as a Winn Parish deputy sheriff assigned to the Sheriff’s Office firing range. In the minutes of the hearing, you can read that Slayter tried to object to the sheriff’s affidavit on the grounds that it states that documents verifying that Kerry was a deputy are attached but were, in fact, never provided to the court or the claimant.
The Winn Parish Journal contacted the Winn Parish Clerk of Court’s office and confirmed no oath of office is on file for Mr. John Kerry.
The annual Kiwanis fruit sale is going on now. This is our main fundraiser for the projects that we do for the children of our community and the world.
The deadline for placing orders is November 15th which is earlier than usual. Please contact a Kiwanian and order your fruit for Christmas.
Available fruit includes apples, oranges, grapefruit, pears, clementines, citrus basket, and mixed four pack. Also available is cheese, avocados, and a wooden gift box including summer sausage and cheese.
Thank you for the support you provide for the Kiwanis club with our fundraisers. We appreciate it.
Kiwanis is a global organization of volunteers dedicated to improving the world one child and one community at a time.
“There are 5,000 people with this condition in the United States, and we got one!” said speaker and Rotarian of the week, John D. “Bo” Walker, as he spoke to the Winnfield Rotary Club at its meeting on October 20, 2021. He was referring to his granddaughter, Kate Walker, the child of Jason and Rachel Walker, who is affected by a rare inherited disease called Friedreich’s ataxia.
Of course, as a grandparent, Mr. Walker would naturally think his granddaughter special, but Kate Walker truly is a special, one-of-a-kind person who has adapted to and confronted her disorder with courage, grace and generosity.
Friedreich’s (name of the physician who first described the disorder in 1863) ataxia (meaning loss of coordination) manifests in a person’s loss of coordination in the arms and legs, fatigue, energy deprivation, and muscle loss, vision impairment, hearing loss, and slurred speech, aggressive scoliosis (curvature of the spine), diabetes mellitus and hypertrophic cardiomegaly (a serious condition meaning the heart is enlarged). And yet, despite such challenges and limitations, Kate last year graduated from high school with a 4.3 grade point average, and is now a freshman at the University of Arkansas. In the meantime, in addition to being active in extracurricular activities and her church, she and her parents decided to become active advocates to raise awareness of FA as well as to raise money for research on the disorder to discover and develop treatments and a cure in cooperation with FARA—Friedreich’s Ataxia Research Alliance.
Hints of Kate’s condition surfaced when her parents attempted to teach her to ride a bicycle, and she simply could not do it. Noticeable loss of coordination, fatigue and muscle loss, and slurred speech showed up gradually as she became older, and when she was 11, she was diagnosed with an enlarged heart. This led to extensive genetic testing and analysis of Kate and her parents, resulting in a definitive diagnosis of FA when Kate was 14 years old.
FA is among a large group of disorders referred to as muscular dystrophy. It is distinct in that it is caused by a defect in the specific gene labeled FXN carrying the genetic code for a protein named frataxin. Frataxin is responsible for the proper function of nerve fibers in the spinal cord, the peripheral nerves that carry information from the brain to the body and from the body back to the brain, and the part of the brain that regulates balance and movement, that is, the cerebellum. The defect in the FXN gene causes the body to produce inadequate frataxin, so the nerve fibers in those areas become thin and deteriorate. Thus, the critical messages between the brain and body that regulate movement, muscles and balance aren’t properly transmitted, and the person with FA gradually loses the ability to move the muscles properly. The disorder does not affect the patient’s mental or intellectual development or ability, as you might guess from the fact that Kate is obviously bright, as can be seen from her academic accomplishments, and determined, as can be seen from her living her life as independently and actively as possible.
The disease is rare because the defect in the FXN gene is inherited by a child only if both parents have the defective FXN gene. If only one parent has it, the other parent’s normal gene will be dominant and the children will not develop FA. FA affects about one person in every 50,000 people in the United States, so Kate is one of only about 5,000 people in the U. S. with this rare disease. Indeed, there are only about 15,000 people with FA in the world.
FA’s symptoms usually show up in childhood and get progressively worse over the years. Most people are diagnosed between the ages of five and 15, although some are not diagnosed until adulthood. The rate at which the symptoms progress in severity varies from person to person, but FA often shortens the life expectancy of those affected by it, primarily due to heart disease.
Because FA is a fairly rare disease, funding from government sources and pharmaceutical companies for research to find a cure or even treatments for the disorder is not available in the research and development stages. Those institutions only invest in treatments or cures that have already shown significant promise in treatment or cure of the disease, that is, research studies have already been done that show the drug or treatment will likely be successful in curing or retarding the progression of the disease. Getting to that stage requires a lot of private money to conduct research studies on the disorder and develop ideas about treatments and drugs that could cure or halt progression.
The Friedreich’s Ataxia Research Alliance [FARA] was founded in 1998 by Ron and Rachel Bartek, whose son Keith was diagnosed with FA at age 11 and died at age 24, other FA patients and their parents, and interested scientists, for the purpose of finding a cure for FA. The Alliance raises funds from which it funds drug research and development, created and maintains a worldwide patient registry to link researchers to individuals with FA, creates connections among scientists interested in investigating FA, educates the medical communities as well as patients and their families about FA and research advances, and generally raises awareness of FA.
One of the annual events put on to promote FA awareness and raise money for research is rooted in Ride Ataxian, which began with Kyle Bryant, an FA patient, determining that he wanted to do a cross country ride. He talked his buddy, Sean Baumstock, into it as well. While Kyle and Sean can’t walk, they can ride recumbent bikes. Kyle and Sean and two other friends loaded up their bikes and a videocamera, and took off on a ride from Oceanside, California to Anapolis, Maryland, a distance of 3300 miles, with the guys taking turns riding, three to four hours at a time, 24 hours a day and someone filming along the way. They made it in eight days, eight hours and 14 minutes. The documentary is called Ride Ataxian. Kyle and Sean have since developed a podcast called “Two Disabled Dudes,” in which they discuss their personal life missions of living beyond their circumstances.
Ride Ataxian was the beginning of several annual rides across the country featuring people with FA riding many miles to raise awareness and funds for FA. Kate began participating in the Ride Dallas for FA in 2017, and has ridden every year since, except the 2020 ride. In those years, she has been second, third and fifth individual fundraiser, and her team, Kate’s Krewe, was the highest fundraising team in 2018, thanks in large part to Kate’s supporters here in Winnfield, especially her grandparents, Bo and Chris Walker, and Jimmy and Helene Walker. The Ride Dallas will take place this year, and Kate and her Krewe are again participating by raising money and awareness for FA, although Kate will not ride.
Kate has made and posted 116 YouTube videos related to her daily life with FA since 2018, so you can check her out there. She also has a website located at MakeithappencureFA. She is a busy and independent young woman in her freshman year of college, attending class, studying, taking physical therapy, and still working to raise awareness of FA and help find a cure for this disease. Kate has taken a cue from Kyle and Sean, and is truly living beyond her circumstances and making the most of her abilities and opportunities.
Mr. Walker reported that there is a current study of a drug which has shown promise for retarding, and perhaps even stopping, the progression of FA, although it has no curative promise. If you would like to contribute to FARA to help fund development of a drug or other treatment that would improve, extend or even completely change the lives of people with FA, you can contribute online at the FARA website, but please be sure you attribute your contribution to the team called Kate’s Krewe. Of course, if you want to write a check or make a cash contribution, just call John D. “Bo” Walker or Chris Walker and they will be happy to accept the contribution and get it to FARA.
The Logger Relief Program is nearing its end so don’t miss out on this oppurtunity to apply in person at the Louisiana Loggers Association (LLA) meeting room in Winnfield today from 8 AM – 12 PM. Program coordinator Ronell Johnson will be onsite to assist loggers to apply.
Paperwork you need to bring:
2019-2020 tax returns
2019-2020 ML card/or number
Information on PPP, EIDL, Mainstreet programs that your business received
Fed Tax ID#
The LLA encourages EVERYONE to sign up!! Even if you don’t meet the requirements!! If enough Loggers sign up, it will hopefully give the legislators enough concern to modify legislation during next session!! So please, take a moment to sign up, or come IN PERSON today.
Erik Weisz was born on March 24, 1874 in Budapest. When Erik was four years old, his family emigrated to the United States. The family settled in Appleton, Wisconsin and changed their last name to the German spelling Weiss. Erik adopted the German spelling Ehrich. To lessen confusion, this article will refer to him by his birth name, Erik.
Erik’s family moved often to find work. His father, Mayer Samuel Weisz, was a Rabbi who was often in search of employment. In 1882, they moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Five years later, they moved into a boarding house in New York City. To help earn money for the struggling family, young Erik held several jobs. At nine years old, Erik made his public debut as a trapeze artist under the name “Ehrich, the Prince of the Air”. Erik often performed in small tent acts, dime museums and circus sideshows, usually with another performer to double the draw and to share expenses. For the rest of his life, Erik’s world revolved around entertaining and amazing crowds of people.
In 1894, while performing with his brother, Theodore, Erik met another sideshow performer named Wilhelmina Beatrice “Bess” Rahner. Within a short time, Erik and Bess married. They performed together for the remainder of Erik’s career.
On October 21, 1936, Erik lectured before the male student body of McGill University in Montreal. Topics of his lecture included his ability to withstand immense pain without so much as a wince. Following his lecture, he answered questions from the students. One student asked if it was possible to painlessly pass needles through his cheek. Rather than verbalizing an answer, he took out a hat pin and ran it through his cheek. He showed no sign of pain. At the end of his lecture, Erik invited them back to his dressing room for further discussion if they were interested. To his surprise, many of the students took advantage of the invitation, including Jocelyn Gordon Whitehead.
During the discussion in Erik’s dressing room, Whitehead remarked, “You would hardly feel a blow in the stomach, would you?” “Certainly no,” Erik replied. Erik was unprepared for what came next. Before he could tighten the muscles in his stomach to lessen the blow, Whitehead gave Erik “two short-armed punches to the pit of his stomach.” Erik shuddered because, as he told the boys, he was not prepared for the punches.
While giving his final performance in Montreal on the following night, the crowd noticed that Erik doubled over in pain several times. Ever the showman, Erik fought through the pain and finished his performance before a cheering crowd. Erik complained of severe stomach pains, something that had never bothered him before.
A few days later, while performing alongside Bess in Detroit, Michigan, Erik collapsed. After he regained consciousness, to the surprise of everyone present, Erik continued with his act. After the show, Erik checked into a local hospital. On the following day, doctors operated on Erik for appendicitis. Following surgery, Erik showed symptoms of swelling of the tissue that lines the abdomen called peritonitis. Erik’s peritonitis was linked to his burst appendix. Erik underwent a second surgery to save his life from the effects of peritonitis. Despite their best efforts, they were unable to save Erik. He lived long enough to say his final goodbyes to his family and friends who surrounded his bedside.
Bess was saddened by her husband’s passing but she held out hope that she would soon be in contact with Erik. “Long before he died,” Bess explained, “we agreed that whoever should go first would try to return to the other. We agreed upon a message, phased in code. It was known only to the two of us. The compact was to last 10 years and no longer. After that period, the one of us still alive was to abandon hope either in the possibility of the survival of the dead, or their ability to communicate with the living.” Bess said, “In his last hours, he said to me: ‘Beatrice, I’ll come to you somehow, even though I have to go through hell.”
On the first anniversary of Erik’s death at 8:30 p.m., the exact time of Erik’s death, Bess held a séance in an attempt to contact her beloved Erik. She anxiously awaited a communication from Erik which said “Rosabelle, Believe”, the code words she and Erik had decided upon. The words did not come. She repeated the séance on the second anniversary of Erik’s death, then the third and fourth. News of the séances spread throughout the world and other people began holding séances to try to contact Erik. In 1936, on the tenth anniversary of Erik’s death, Bess prepared for the final séance to contact Erik, as per their agreement. At 8:30 p.m., Bess and other believers in psychic phenomena, one of which was a Los Angeles superior court judge, gathered on the roof of a Hollywood hotel to try to make contact with Erik one final time. They were not the only ones trying to contact Erik. People held simultaneous séances in sixteen cities in the United States, England, Australia and Canada, but no lights flickered, no objects moved without explanation, and no one heard “Rosabelle, Believe.” All was quiet. Bess never received the message from Erik that she so longed to hear. On February 11, 1943, seventeen years after Erik’s death, Bess died from a heart attack. She never remarried.
People still hold séances each year on the anniversary of Erik’s death to try to make contact with him, but all attempts have failed. Erik was an illusionist, stunt performer, and is most remembered as an escape artist. He died on Halloween night in 1926. On this Halloween night, if your lights flicker or you hear a strange sound, it may just be Erik trying to make contact with the living world. You may not recognize the name Erik Weisz, but you certainly know him by his stage name…Harry Houdini. Happy Halloween!
St. Louis Post-Dispatch (St. Louis, Missouri), November 1, 1926, p.3.
The News Tribune (Tacoma, Washington), October 31, 1936, p.2.
Johns Hopkins Medicine. “Peritonitis.” Accessed October 20, 2021. hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/peritonitis.
Scotto, Michael. “Upper East Side Séance Attempts to Contact Harry Houdini On the Anniversary of His Death.” Spectrum News. November 1, 2016. ny1.com/nyc/all-boroughs/news/2016/11/1/upper-east-side-s-ance-attempts-to-contact-harry-houdini-on-the-90th-anniversary-of-the-escape-artists–death.
This statement was recently made by Democrat nominee for Virginia governor (and former VA governor), Terry McAuliffe. Think about that statement again. “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.” Wow. At a time when many traditional, well-accepted aspects of American life have become backwards and upside down this comment nevertheless took me aback. However, it really shouldn’t have because these are the views of the Left which firmly believes that the supreme authority in children’s lives is the state, not their parents and not God.
How have we seen statements like this reflected lately? Well, as I shared two weeks ago in this column, The National School Boards Association first, we’ve now learned, coordinated for weeks before the letter was sent with the Biden Administration and then wrote in a September letter to President Biden urging Attorney General Merrick Garland and the Department of Justice to stop “domestic terrorism and hate crimes” against public school officials. This means the National School Boards Association believed that the fact that parents were fighting to protect the health, safety and welfare of their children was so “dire” a situation that the Attorney General should invoke the Patriot Act and have these concerned parents deemed “domestic terrorists” under the Act.
Well, Attorney General Garland complied by issuing an October memo instructing law enforcement (including FBI) and prosecutors to develop “strategies for addressing threats against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff.” AG Garland, whose son in law’s company, Panorama, is providing its Critical Race Theory platform to over 1,500 school districts, 23,000 schools and 13 million students, is set to again testify before Congress this coming week on these issues.
What are parents so concerned and irate about? Well, let’s see. It may include the fact that in much of America, public schools have not truly educated children in decades and today serve more as a breeding ground for indoctrination in cultural Marxism than as institutions designed to impart even the most basic knowledge of language, math, science, or history. Please know I don’t intend here to bash or criticize the large majority of teachers in Louisiana and across the country who are deeply committed to their jobs and try very hard to educate their students. My focus here is on the school boards and school administrators who demand that these teachers—rather than concentrate on imparting the basic knowledge that will be necessary for their students to function in our society—instead “teach” these highly inappropriate topics including sexual perversion, gender identity and racial politics.
By the way, what is it specifically that parents so heatedly oppose? Well, among other things, pandemic shutdowns, the endless and burdensome coronavirus mask mandates, the teaching of Critical Race Theory (CRT, which essentially argues that America is historically and hopelessly racist), transgender confusion policies, Drag Queen Story Hour at the local library, as well as materials containing graphic sexual content (i.e., porn disguised as literature) being forced upon their children in public schools. (I realize that these topics may also be taught at private schools but those schools don’t involve public taxpayer funds).
What is the most important fact here that Terry McAuliffe and the Left are ignoring? That children are not the property of the state and that parents are the final authority regarding what their children are taught and what they learn. The U.S. Supreme Court has many times recognized the fundamental liberty interest of American parents in—and constitutional right to control and direct—the education of their own children. That is why rowdy and heated local opposition to school board policies has been a hallmark of civic engagement and our constitutional form of government. It is also why millions of American parents have sacrificed greatly to put their children in private schools and a significant factor regarding why homeschooling numbers are increasing rapidly across the country.
Government may possess a compelling interest in the solid and thorough education of children with basic human knowledge and an understanding of American principles such that they develop into good and civic-minded citizens. That was certainly the original goal of public education. However, government most assuredly does not possess a compelling interest in replacing the rights of parents to educate their children with the government’s desire to indoctrinate children who are particularly vulnerable to it because of their youth and innocence. I hope parents continue to firmly stand against this.
The views and opinions expressed in the My Opinion article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The Winn Parish Journal. Any content provided by the authors are of their opinion and are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, individual or anyone or anything.