As America emerges from the fog of the Covid-19 era – in which individual liberty and common sense took a back seat to irrational fear and compulsory compliance – parents across the country are slowly but surely waking up and reasserting their rights when it comes to their children.
We’ve been following this budding movement – and its leaders – extensively over the past few years. And while I have always believed the ultimate solution to ineffectual government-run school systems is empowering parents with more choices in the marketplace – it’s also important to fight for parental rights within the government-run system.
Unfortunately, such battles are being lost every day to the adherents of indoctrination.
Meanwhile, school choice – especially in South Carolina – is a shadow of what it should be. And while the program is on the cusp of an expansion in the Palmetto State, “Republican” leaders – who continue to defy their stated conservative principles on multiple fronts – remain slavishly devoted to the failed status quo.
In such a climate, parents wishing to assert their rights are struggling to find a support system as cultural currents keep moving against them. With so many narratives driven by bureaucratic diktats and mainstream media regurgitation, the gravitational pull away from parental control is unmistakable – and sadly picking up momentum.
Enter United Parents of South Carolina (UPSC), one of several new advocacy groups which aims to equip parents who are willing to take a stand for their children with the information they need to do so. Originally known as “Unmask Our Children,” UPSC was created in 2021 “in response to the ongoing complexities and concerns surrounding the public health policies implemented in schools impacting our children.”
Since then, the nonpartisan group has grown steadily to include more than 6,000 members.
UPSC exists to help parents who are “slowly losing their right to choose what is best for their children” find ways of preserving those rights – both “now and in the future.”
According to the group’s mission statement, it is working with stakeholders to …
- inspire a unified school community
- support the best possible learning environment
- support the best possible educational outcomes
- support the best possible physical, social and emotional health outcomes for our children.
Hard to argue with any of those objectives … but how best to achieve them?
For starters, UPSC encourages leaders at government-run schools to “justify particular policies which may include public health mitigation strategies, curriculum or other school policies.” That includes providing parents – and the public – with “risk versus benefit assessments for specific public health policies.”
You know, like mask mandates, vaccine mandates or demands for “virtual learning” – all of which were issued by government-run schools during Covid.
“Unsupported or unsubstantiated policies erode trust, causing elected officials, government agencies and school system leadership to lose credibility,” the group’s website noted. “Unsupported polices also are more likely to cause division which is detrimental to the school community.”
Translation? Show your work, bureaucrats …
“We have heard from many parents in South Carolina that they have lost trust in public health officials and medical providers,” said Maggie Marlow, one of the original founders of UPSC. “The concern is that certain messaging and recommendations are not backed by scientific evidence and not in the best interest of their children.”
(Click to view)
“In response to these concerns, the UPSC team created a guide to help parents with information and tools they need to ask educated questions and make informed decisions for their family when it comes to their children’s health,” Marlow added.
This guide (.pdf) includes “suggestions on how to have a productive conversation with their child’s medical provider.” Among other goals, it is intended to help educate parents on …
- Why Medical Informed Consent is important.
- Which vaccinations are required for school and which are not.
- Vaccination exemptions.
- Commonly asked questions about vaccinations.
According to Victoria Finneran, a member of the group, parental vigilance is every bit as important today as it was during the peak overreach of the Covid-19 scare.
“Some of the 2020 mandates may almost seem like a distant memory but there are still major issues at hand,” she wrote on UPSC’s Facebook page.
According to Finneran, UPSC’s guide helps ensure parents “are fully empowered to make the right decisions” for their families.
One of those parents is Kimberly Norton, a mother of two elementary age children.
“This document is SO valuable, because in a world where everyone is trying to push their own agendas and opinions, it’s really helpful to have a one stop shop to educate parents with unbiased facts when it comes to vaccinations,” Norton told me.
UPSC isn’t the only group seeking to level the playing field in the fight against “agendas and opinions.” As we reported last month, a new school board collaborative formed in North and South Carolina is helping members “facilitate better academic outcomes in their district’s classrooms” – and equipping them to push back against “outside agendas that have co-opted so many educational institutions.”
This news outlet supports all of these efforts … just as we continue to support the push for expanded parental choice in the Palmetto State and beyond. Hopefully, South Carolina lawmakers will begin paying attention to this shifting tide and start putting the needs of students first for a change.
BACK-TO-SCHOOL GUIDE …
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children.
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