I’ve been hearing the following arguments from those who don’t seem bothered by some schools’ decisions to continue mandatory masking experiments on children: “Who cares? We’re almost done with the school year anyway,” and, “We’ve come this far with masks, don’t rock the boat now because we might lose out on something if we’d just kept them on.”

Thankfully, though not to the extent that is needed, the New Auburn School District made steps toward allowing masks to be optional in the best interest of students. Sadly, this was in stark contrast to the Chetek-Weyerhaeuser School board meeting I attended and others that I’ve heard about in Barron County.

The sunk cost fallacy is the phenomenon in which an individual or group faces increasingly negative outcomes from an earlier decision or plan, yet they persist with that decision or plan because they’ve “already invested so much in it.”

We’ve all fallen for this fallacy at least once in our lives, so I understand why people do it. But does the fact that I can understand it, make it right? If you invest hundreds of hours and dollars fixing up an old house and learn that the foundation is failing, should you keep working on the siding, the roof or the landscaping, because you’re almost done? Of course not!

Likewise, why are we continuing to mask children in schools when real-world evidence shows that children and schools are not drivers of COVID-19 transmission, COVID-19 is less dangerous to children than seasonal flu, and mask wearing in the real world—as opposed to a lab—has not affected COVID-19 outcomes (in fact, it appears to make things worse)? And recently, more medical professionals, scientists, attorneys and educators are sounding the alarm about both short- and long-term harms of masks on children.

Why is this not enough to make us immediately stop infringing on parental rights and experimenting on children? How much more abuse must our children endure to placate adult fears? I am deeply disturbed by how many school leaders and board members across Wisconsin blithely accept a dirty and dehumanizing “health” intervention as a reasonable imposition on children in order to make themselves feel like they’re “doing something” for the “greater good.” This manipulation must end.

To all school districts who still require mandatory masking: Enough with the outdated plans that don’t prioritize children or serve the community. Make masks optional now.

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