Gov. Glenn Youngkin says he wants the best for his fellow Virginians. He has called for unity and even quoted the Bible in urging folks to love their neighbors — right after setting up a tip line for Virginians to rat out teachers.
And he said his sweeping, pandering executive order on mask mandates — he wants none — isn’t banning masks at schools, no, that’s not it at all. He just wants parents to decide “whether wearing a mask at school is right for their child,” he wrote in an op-ed in The Washington Post.
He wants parents to choose — like he did. The Youngkins lived for years in one of the nation’s highest-ranking and most coveted school districts in Northern Virginia. But they chose to send all four of their children across the Potomac to private schools in D.C. and Maryland. Nice choice, if you can make it.
The youngest goes to an elite, all-boys Jesuit high school in Maryland. Where masks are required.
“At this time, Georgetown Prep requires all persons, regardless of vaccination status, to wear masks while indoors on campus, except while eating meals or while residents are in their own dorm room,” say the school’s pandemic guidelines.
“Masks must also be worn during any indoor school-sponsored activity off campus, including during transport (e.g. riding buses for a field trip, an away athletic game, and taking the shuttle from the Metro [to] school, etc.)”, continues the mask policy at the $37,000-a-year school that boasts two Supreme Court justices — Brett M. Kavanaugh and the notoriously unmasked Neil M. Gorsuch — as alums.
Youngkin also issued an executive order dropping the vaccine mandate for state employees. The students, staff and faculty at Georgetown Prep are all required to be vaccinated. I reached out to Youngkin’s press secretary twice to ask about the governor’s thoughts on the school’s policy and didn’t hear back.
It’s not race or social status or gender that’s dividing us over the response to the coronavirus. It’s political party, easily found in surveys done by the Kaiser Family Foundation as it tracked who was being vaccinated.
As a wealthy man and as a White man, Youngkin easily identifies with the other rich White folks who send their kids to private schools with strict mandates.
But as a Republican, not a parent, Youngkin decided to take the stand that pleases his voters, many of whom live in school districts that have adopted mask-optional policies in line with his order. Districts home to nearly 2 in 3 Virginia public school children have elected to keep their mandates in place, a Post analysis found.
This isn’t bringing anyone together. Neither are his talking points. . . declaring that parents should decide what’s best for their children.
But what if they don’t have $37,000 a year to send their kids to another state, to a private school that requires masks and vaccination and offers a rigorous, challenging curriculum? What are their choices then?
The hypocrisy continues with the very first executive order he signed after his inauguration this month, a Kabuki theater order against the teaching of critical race theory. He followed it up with a dangerous tip line for parents to report teachers who introduce “divisive” topics in the classroom.
But the content that scares his White voters the most is exactly what Georgetown Prep — and other schools — are tackling, most recently with an exhibit about the school’s connection to slavery. “Endowment of Tears, Hope for Reconciliation: Georgetown Prep and Slavery” is an exhibit that opened in 2018 and is being shown virtually to students today, focusing “on enslaved persons of the same age as current Prep students. It invites the viewer to consider how best to seek reconciliation with the memory of the enslaved and with their descendants.”
The school also condemns “the brutality and racial violence that have cost so many of our brothers and sisters their lives and their hopes.” That’s powerful. And it probably makes some kids uncomfortable.
The same deep dive into our nation’s troubled past is being done at the other private schools the Youngkin children graduated from — National Cathedral School and St. Alban’s, which Dana Milbank highlighted in his column this week.
[W]hy is he fighting a safe pandemic environment and a rigorous curriculum for the public school kids of Virginia? It’s about the politics, the votes, folks. And not your kids.
Damning, but sadly 100% true. The man is despicable.
PS: Here's what his son's school is presenting to students:
It explores the pivotal role that slavery played in establishing, maintaining, and, through the 1838 sale of 272 enslaved persons owned by the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus, financially rescuing Georgetown College and its largest constituent element, the Preparatory Department.