Op-Ed: Tyranny Must Not Be Normalized

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If the past 18 months since the pandemic began has taught us anything, it’s that time and time again people in positions of authority are willing to overstep their limited power in the name of “public safety.” This was on display once again at the Tuesday evening Helena School Board meeting.

Despite over three hours of public comment opposing mask mandates, the Helena school board chose to disregard the concerns of parents and allow the superintendent to impose new mask mandates on children as young as 3 years old.

The Helena School Board’s own bylaws state that the district will “solicit community opinion to ensure that the ideas, interests, and concerns are considered in the decision-making processes.”

Despite the enormous public outcry, their decision to impose mask mandates shows that they are not interested in actually considering the “community opinion”. Earlier this year, the State Legislature passed House Bill 257, which made it clear that local health boards have no authority to impose new mask mandates.

We are now seeing this clear overreach again as local school boards and superintendents believe they have the authority to impose these mandates. Parents and students should have the right to make the best medical decision for themselves regarding whether or not to wear a mask.

This clear overreach by Superintendent Weltz and the 7 board members that voted to give him this power, along with numerous other instances of this behavior, is one of the reasons I decided to step up and run for public office by seeking a seat in the State Legislature in HD 82.

The people of Helena deserve to be represented by somebody that will actually listen to and “consider” their points of view and concerns…something we clearly don’t have now.   

Alden Tonkay




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