Our View: Choices have consequences


February 11, 2022

When Leona Johnson spoke out at the Esko school board meeting Monday, it wasn’t the first time a local school board member worried aloud about “discrimination” against children who choose to not be vaccinated or masked missing more school because of those choices.

Discrimination is absolutely the wrong word choice here.

Yes, people are free to choose whether or not to be vaccinated themselves, or have their children vaccinated against Covid. In some districts — not all — they are also free to decide whether or not to wear masks.

But if those children have to quarantine longer because they aren’t vaccinated and/or choose to not wear a mask to school, it’s not discrimination. It’s a consequence.

We all make choices every day, and face the consequences, from the mundane to lifechanging:

-Play video games instead of practicing your favorite sport. Maybe you won’t make the team.

-Don’t do your homework. Flunk the test or get a worse grade in the class.

-Have unprotected sex. Pregnancy or venereal disease are very real possibilities.

-Drive drunk. Risk getting caught and going to jail, causing a crash that harms/kills you or, worse yet, someone else.

Choices come with consequences and the sooner our children learn that, the better. They need to fully understand and decide if those consequences are something they are willing to face — and not try to beg out of.

This feels like a continuation of the disastrous trend of giving all children participation ribbons in athletic events, an idea that seemed innocuous enough but has perhaps resulted in a generation of adults who think it’s unfair when they face actual consequences.

Every school district is required to adopt a clear Covid policy, and those include masking and quarantine guidelines. That should come as no surprise to parents or children.

And then there’s just the fact of using the word “discrimination” — which is generally used to describe the unjust or prejudicial treatment of people on the grounds of race, age, or gender — to describe a kid who doesn’t wear a mask or isn’t vaccinated by choice. It cheapens the meaning.

Here’s another word that could be added to the debate: entitled. According to Google’s online dictionary, it means “believing oneself to be inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment.” Could anything be more un-American, more undemocratic?

Allowing children and their parents to question authority is a good thing. Teaching them how to do proper research and vet their sources is important too. But teaching children that their choices have consequences should be a no-brainer for families and school districts.


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