An Open Letter to Dr. Lori Wilson & R-7 Board of Directors

As our weekend comes to a close and a new school year inches closer and closer, we tucked our babies into bed this evening full of excitement. You see, they only have one week left until school starts. We have three children in the West Plains R-7 school system: a first grader and two incoming preschool students. Our oldest daughter was ready to tackle first grade the moment she completed Kindergarten and our two incoming preschool daughters, while a little nervous, are very excited to meet their teachers and make new friends---and carry their cool new backpacks they picked out all by themselves.
Last week, it was announced that West Plains R-7 would be masking K-12 and, as we can only imagine, your phones have been ringing nonstop and your inbox always refreshing as new emails arrive. We’re sure you have fielded calls from angry parents or have read things swirling around on social media that leave your jaw on the floor. We promise you, this isn’t like that. We actually want to thank you. We speak only for ourselves, but we assure you there are more of us than you realize who understand this was necessary.
As the next board meeting draws near and you are face to face with the mob and pitchforks hoping to change your decision by speaking out, please know that the loudest amongst us do not represent the entire body of parents. To be honest, part of us understands their frustration- they want to see their children in a normal school setting. We get it. We really do. We certainly don’t *want* to mask our children. Who *wants* that? However, there is one difference. There are parents in this district, including us, who understand that masking needs to happen in order to keep kids safely in the classroom. It’s what needs to be done in order to get back to a normal school setting. We understand the science behind masking is always evolving. We understand this decision isn’t political.
So as you face the next public board meeting head on and you’re bombarded with angry calls and emails, please think of our children. Our children who, through no fault of their own, had a terrible start to life and because of these circumstances have compromised immune systems. They are excited to begin the school year with you, masks and all. Thank you.
DeeDee & Ed Button
This letter was originally posted on DeeDee Button’s Facebook page on August 15, and is reprinted here with permission.
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