By Samuel Strait, Reporter in Large – October 25, 2021

On Monday, October 18th, the Del Norte Unified School District
identified 348 additional students missing from schools that they would
normally attend, according to Assistant Superintendent of Educations
Services, Tom Kissinger.  It seems according to Kissinger that there are
normally 400 students who miss schools each day or about 12% of the
District’s student population of about 3500.  This would mean the
absentee number on Monday was 748 or about 22% of the entire District’s
student population. Kissinger dismissed the possibility that the high
number of absenteeism could be directly traced to the announced State
wide protest of Governor Gavin Newsom’s pending mandate to vaccinate for
Covid all students attending California’s public schools by July of
2022.  Kissinger went on to say it was difficult to tell definitively
whether the protest was responsible for the exceptionally high number of
absentees.  Oh really….

Nothing to see here folks.  In the week before the Monday experience
there were a number of indicators that the protest would indeed be
coming to Del Norte and the District’s administration made efforts to
dissuade participation in that event.  Clearly the attempt failed. 
Maybe the message to school administrators to take seriously the level
of resistance to the governor’s mandate and act accordingly, should be
heeded.  To say that  parents who protest the vaccine mandate should be
taking their displeasure to the governor is disingenuous by
Superintendent Jeff Harris, when it is already clear that Governor Empty
Suit is unable to listen.  While the loss of funding may not affect
the District’s finances immediately, the loss of 22% of the student
population in the Fall of 2022 certainly will.

Clearly Superintendent, Jeff Harris, didn’t get the message following
the absentees.  His feeble attempt to claim that students were missing
out on educational opportunities in addition to a year and a half of a
Covid related loss would according to him be a mistake.  Apparently
Superintendent Harris was unaware of how exposed the school district’s
lack of worthwhile education was on display during that period.  Parents
witnessed the abysmal failure of the Del Norte Unified School District’s
educational practices first hand.  Many that care about whether or not
their children receive a quality education were appalled.  Unfortunately
too many parents remain under the mistaken impression that public
schools genuinely care about educating their progeny, otherwise the
numbers would have been much higher.

One might just say “Earth to Superintendent Harris” this is an issue
that will not go away quietly in the State of California. If the local
school district does not wish further reductions in student population
it would behoove the District to lobby Sacramento and our
representatives to offer some sort of remedy. To blindly say that small
rural school districts have no stake in this coming battle is incredibly
naive and disrespectful.  There are many other districts that faced the
absenteeism through out the State this past Monday.  The vaccine mandate
coupled with poor performance by many public schools in the State are
very likely to have long term affect on public school funding as more
parents opt out of public school.  This is a small warning of things to
come for public schools as the list of grievances  mount towards public
education which has failed our youth for many years.

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