Virginia Mom Carrie Lukas on the Battle Against Masking Kids

26 Jan 2022

CLAY: We’ve got Carrie Lukas joining us now. She’s the head of the Independent Women’s Network, a mom of five kids in public schools in Virginia. Carrie, I’ve got a couple of kids in public schools here in Tennessee. I went and spoke out against masks back before the school year really got rolling in August. I know you guys are continuing to fight these battles in Virginia. What’s the latest there?

LUKAS: Yeah. I hope you’ve had more success than we have. You know, it’s interesting because obviously we’ve had this wonderful new world where Governor Youngkin comes in and really is ready to stand up for parents on his first day of office. You know, he issued an executive order that didn’t rescind the mask mandate but immediately gave parents an opt-out. You were supposed to have the ability to opt your kids out of the mask mandates pretty much and that was supposed to start this week. But some of the Northern Virginia kind of intransigent blue school districts pushed back; they said, “No.” There’s a big lawsuit battle going on. My school board — my school, the kids’ system that they’re in — has said that any kid who tries to come to school without a mask is getting suspended and, you know, I decided to make a point. (laughing) I got two of my kids thrown out of school yesterday so (crosstalk).

CLAY: How old are your kids?

LUKAS: I have my oldest is 16 and my littlest is 7, and so I just went to our elementary school where the stakes are pretty low and it’s a much smaller school so I have a good relationship with, you know, the teachers and the administration there so it seemed like the safest place to kind of do this pushback.

BUCK: Carrie, you shared a photo. I mean, it seems like this is getting pretty tense even at your own school. We’re talking about kids here, whether or not they’re wearing masks. Are there parents who are…? What, are they gonna call cops on people who don’t wear the mask? I mean, what is the enforcement mechanism here? And are there other parents who are coming along to your side of things more publicly than they have in the past?

LUKAS: Yeah. It’s really interesting, because I feel like the conversation we could be having today could be entirely different if the Fairfax County public school system had just had a little faith in parents and in kind of humanity. It’s so funny because when I knew I was going to do this — and my grievance is with the school board, which is refusing to give parents this option. And I know that my little elementary school here is just following their orders.

So I went ahead the night before this was gonna happen… The first day of school was Tuesday; the kids had off for some reason on Monday. So I sent an email to the principal and said, “Hey, I feel strongly about this; I want to exercise my rights. I know that this puts you in an awkward position.” I didn’t want to blind side them. I was very polite and said I would accept that they had to suspend any kids.

The thing that was so strange was I arrive at the school in the morning with my two little kids in tow and with a couple of friends — one of whom was a reporter for the Daily Wire was coming with us, Luke, who is in an area — lives real close to the school — and another woman, Asra Nomani, who filmed some of it just so we had a record of what was happening. And there was a security guard there who really gave you the sense that they were expecting some kind of trouble which is ridiculous (laughing) because of course we were just there to have this conversation with our school. It was very strange that they felt the treat us as if they were hostile and couldn’t be trusted.

 

CLAY: How long were the suspensions?

LUKAS: Oh, just for the day. You know, so they basically — you know, it’s interesting because you could tell that the woman who was in charge of the school, the vice principal, I mean, she very much avoided… You could tell she didn’t want to say that they were suspended, and my conversation with her was very cordial. But at the same time there was a — and some of this is on tape at Asra Nomani’s Substack, where you can watch this video.

Where the security guard is really hassling especially Luke, the reporter for the Daily Wire, who eventually wrote a story on this telling him to get off the sidewalk and really treating him as though, you know, like that he didn’t have a right to be there which seems very strange and just crazy. And so that’s what made the story and the funniest part was the security guard at one time pulled down the mask to bark at some of my friends and Luke (laughing), and they said, “Why did you just pull your mask down?” He’s like, “Well, I can’t talk through it.” We’re like, “Exactly right! That’s why we’re here.”

BUCK: Carrie, this is a part of this — explain, the governor comes in, he’s the governor, right? And I live in New York and so I’ve had to just, you know, accept the stupidity of whether it was the former mayor, de Blasio — or the former or now current governor — whether it was Cuomo or Hochul. You know, their order was treated as law when it comes to things like masking. So Youngkin comes in, he changes things, but there are school districts that are just saying “no”? Is that what’s happening? ‘Cause that seems kind of crazy.

LUKAS: Yeah, it seems lawless. It absolutely — and, you know, we’re being told that we should sit back and wait and that the court, the Virginia Supreme Court is gonna sort out who has the authority here. But I agree. I see no reason why the default should be that my school boards get to continue to really cramdown this mask — or this mask requirement on our kids which, again. You know, this would allow parents who wanted to mask to continue to mask their kids but to give us some freedom from this absolutely ridiculous, ridiculous rule at this point. But, yeah, I mean, we’re… I don’t understand why it is that Fairfax County public schools has this authority when this EO is in place. It hasn’t been stayed.

CLAY: Carrie, so here’s my question. I’m obviously a parent who is complete in agreement with everything that you’re doing. I’m also a lawyer. So my thought is, every day that you show up without your kids wearing a mask, they suspend you for that day? Is that theoretically what the policy would be?

LUKAS: Well, yeah. I mean, that’s… Yes, that is what the policy is, so my kids did go to school today. They missed so much time with online school last year that he didn’t want to keep them out but, yeah, one reason why I went there yesterday ’cause I wanted them to have to enforce this kind of to go through with it because if no parents kind of objected then there wouldn’t be any harm being caused and I didn’t think we would be able to — or no, you know, actionable harm. Where now my kids were barred from having an education yesterday, and, yeah, so I’ve options open I think if —

CLAY: Well, that’s what I’m saying from a legal perspective. At some point if you are defying… I’m just working through the law here. If you’re defying, as the school board, the governor of the state of Virginia’s regulations to allow parents to choose whether their kids wear masks, and if they are effectively standing up in the schoolhouse door — to use a historical analogy — and barring your children from being able to enter, yours or other children.

Then you would have a very strong case legally to immediately go to court and say, “This policy that be being implemented by this northern Virginia school district is not permissible under the law.” So I would hope you and/or other parents are going to seek redress, ’cause they specifically barred your children — you have evidence of it occurring — from entering school and getting an education, in direct conveyance of the rule of the governor. That is a pretty clear-cut case, I would think.

LUKAS: Yeah, I hope so and, you know, it’s funny, you know, I hate this kind of thing. It’s so frustrating. But here we have… It’s not only just that the school is refusing. They’re using my tax dollars to put their own lawsuit against the governor. They were hiring security guards to harass us yesterday. They had a PR flack there to make sure that, you know, that people couldn’t listen to me have this, you know, very polite conversation with this woman who was suspending my kids. It was… They’re so wasteful and hostile. You’re right. Absolutely there are people speaking about the potential for a lawsuit, and we’re gonna see how this all plays out.

BUCK: Carrie Lukas, everybody – -thanks for being with us — from the Independent Women’s Forum. Great to have you, and good luck in this fight because it’s very important.

LUKAS: Great. Thanks so much for having me on.

BUCK: All right. Thanks so much. Clay, I gotta say, I just wanted to get that on the record there because they’re just saying “no” now. They don’t have the power anymore. People have thrown out their lunatic lib governor. They don’t have the right to do this, and schools are just saying “no.” This is lawless.

CLAY: They’re standing in the schoolhouse door — this is George Wallace style — over masks. They’re not allowing parents who don’t want their kids to wear masks to get an education, and I’m gonna share Carrie’s Twitter handle so you guys have it. If you’re in Northern Virginia you’re listening to us, I’ll share that online @ClayTravis. She was fantastic. More props to her and other parents for standing up against this. This is crazy.



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