Show an ad over header. AMP

I am the FIRST

The fight over mask mandates in schools turns violent

As children head back to the classroom, a "vocal minority" have resorted to violence or disruptive measures to protest against mask mandates in schools.

Driving the news: While the majority of Americans support the mandates, according to a recent Axios/Ipsos poll, back-to-school confrontations across the U.S. have gotten so hot that teachers and other officials have been punched, hit and screamed at.

What's happening:

In Texas, Tom Leonard, the superintendent of Eanes Independent School District, wrote in a note to parents and staff last week that the return to school has been marked by "a few sad moments."

  • One parent in the Austin-area district allegedly assaulted a teacher by ripping off her face mask, while others yelled at another teacher, claiming they couldn't understand what she was saying due to the face covering.
  • "This is everywhere," Leonard told NPR, saying that he'd spoken to education leaders in California, Illinois and New York who've experienced similar issues.

In Northern California, a parent allegedly left a teacher bleeding and requiring hospital treatment — after the parent tried to attack the principal over masks and the teacher jumped in, KCRA-TV reported.

  • “The teachers have definitely been on edge. They are fearful because the last thing they want is to have an issue with a parent,” Torie Gibson, superintendent of California's Amador County Unified School District, told AP.

In Kansas last week, officials in Douglas County were confronted by angry unmasked protesters who opposed an indoor mask mandate for two- to- 12-year-olds, invoking comparisons to the Taliban and leaders of Japanese internment camps, according to AP.

Even before students headed back to the classroom, school board meetings across the U.S. saw heated confrontations over whether masks should be required for students and teachers.

  • In Nevada and Pennsylvania, meetings this month devolved into verbal arguments so aggressive that police were called in.
  • At least 11 protesters who disrupted a Utah school board meeting in July are facing criminal charges, AP reported.

The big picture: Public health measures like mask and vaccine mandates have become a political flashpoint across the country even as COVID-19 cases surge nationwide due to the Delta variant.

  • Schools districts in Florida and Texas are defying executive orders by their state governors banning such mandates. Schools in Arizona and South Carolina are fighting similar bans.
  • Some colleges and universities, meanwhile, are instituting disciplinary actions against unvaccinated students.

Go deeper: America's patchwork back-to-school plan

Why the startup world needs to ditch "unicorns" for "dragons"

When Aileen Lee originally coined the term "unicorn" in late 2013, she was describing the 39 "U.S.-based software companies started since 2003 and valued at over $1 billion by public or private market investors."

Flashback: It got redefined in early 2015 by yours truly and Erin Griffith, in a cover story for Fortune, as any privately-held startup valued at $1 billion or more. At the time, we counted 80 of them.

Keep reading... Show less

Scoop: Facebook's new moves to lower News Feed's political volume

Facebook plans to announce that it will de-emphasize political posts and current events content in the News Feed based on negative user feedback, Axios has learned. It also plans to expand tests to limit the amount of political content that people see in their News Feeds to more countries outside of the U.S.

Why it matters: The changes could reduce traffic to some news publishers, particularly companies that post a lot of political content.

Keep reading... Show less

Scoop: Amazon quietly getting into live audio business

Amazon is investing heavily in a new live audio feature that's similar to other live audio offerings like Clubhouse, Twitter Spaces and Spotify's new live audio platform, sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: As with Amazon's efforts in podcasting and music subscriptions, the company sees live audio as a way to bolster the types of content it can offer through its voice assistant, Alexa, and its smart speaker products.

Keep reading... Show less

Hurricane Ida exposes America's precarious energy infrastructure

The powerful hurricane that plunged New Orleans into darkness for what could be weeks is the latest sign that U.S. power systems are not ready for a warmer, more volatile world.

The big picture: “Our current infrastructure is not adequate when it comes to these kinds of weather extremes,” Joshua Rhodes, a University of Texas energy expert, tells Axios.

Keep reading... Show less

"We must go further": 70% of adults in European Union are fully vaccinated

About 70% of adults in the European Union are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, said Tuesday.

Why it matters: The milestone makes the E.U. one of the world's leaders in inoculations, after an initially lagging vaccine campaign, the New York Times notes.

Keep reading... Show less

What Elizabeth Holmes jurors will be asked ahead of fraud trial

Jury selection begins today in USA v. Elizabeth Holmes, with the actual jury trial to get underway on Sept. 8.

Why it matters: Theranos was the biggest fraud in Silicon Valley history, putting both hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of patients' health at risk.

Keep reading... Show less



Get Goodhumans in your inbox

Most Read

More Stories