Parents are outraged and file lawsuits over COVID-19 mask mandates

Parents file lawsuits over COVID-19 mask mandates

Parents are filing lawsuits over COVID-19 mask mandates in schools. They claim that masks are harmful to the children and that this is an overreach by the government. Parents are outraged and feel that the covers also cause significant psychological harm (Reilly, 2021).

In Tennessee, “a group of parents sued the Williamson County School Board of Education in U.S. District Court on Sept. 22 over the district’s mask mandate, raising doubts about the effectiveness of masks and alleging that district leader is “engaging in what amounts to a whole school clinical experimental trial” (Reilly, 2021). The Governor of Tennessee Bill Lee signed an order to allow parents to opt out. In Pennsylvania, lawsuits were filed based on psychological problems and fear of interference with breathing. They also cited religious objections that it creates a “prison-like atmosphere” (Reilly, 2021).

In South Carolina, parents of disabled children filed a federal lawsuit arguing that the ban on mandates is discriminatory and is putting children at risk with medical conditions (Reilly, 2021). Because the federal district judge blocked the ban, the U.S. Justice Department filed a statement of interest and support (Reilly, 2021).

The CDC says everyone must wear masks because of substantial health risks. Parents’ rights do not trump public schools’ ability to keep students safe (Reilly, 2021). Disabled students with medical conditions have the right to equal access to education, not having a mask, they cannot safely attend school. This article brings to light the outrage of masks and how students are the victims of COVID-19; however, the focus is on the students who are disabled, how they have rights and are being and considered an afterthought. Are disabled students voiceless during the COVID-19 crisis? Are their parents so fed up that they have finally had enough?

The mask mandates are so polarized, and people are so passionate on one side, but what about the disabled students? What about those students who look forward to school and need school for not only learning but needed interaction? It is all they have in some cases, but they have medical conditions where they cannot take a chance, and they need to have a mask mandate in place, which serves as the voice for these students. Why should they have to suffer because of all the confusing narrative? We are all affected by Covid 19. However, these parents of disabled children’s sufferings are unique. Parents are finally taking it to the next level by taking legal action.

This news event article is an excellent example of the Situational Crisis Communication Theory. The SCCT framework has identified three clusters based upon attributions of crisis responsibility by crisis type: the victim, accidental, and intentional cluster (Coombs, 2007, p. 167). In this situation, everyone involved in this lawsuit is the victim. Our nation has been caught up by misinformation and indecisiveness that lawmakers are mandating.

Some parents are left with no options, which is quite upsetting. These decisions that may lead to having to keep their children at home will cause disruption of the disabled child’s life and potential economic loss for one or more parents because of the responsibility of caretaking for their child.

The Situational Crisis Communication Theory definitions in the crisis clusters highlight the crisis cues that frame and are salient in a crisis such as these (Coombs, 2007, p. 167). The crisis history suggests that this school mask mandate is now an ongoing problem for over two years. Our nation has been instructed to force mask-wearing, vaccine urgency, school shutdowns, and now back to school with strict rules in the last two years. Well, these parents are fed up! They do not have any faith in the government systems because they have damaged their reputation with confusing communication. The parents in this event are acting by suing and trying to control their and their children’s lives.


Coombs, W. (2007). Protecting organization reputations during a crisis: The development and application of situational crisis communication theory. Corporate Reputation Review, 10(3), 163–176.

Mason, A. (2016). Media frames and crisis events: Understanding the impact on corporate reputations, responsibility attributions, and negative affect. International Journal of Business Communication, 56(3), 414–431.

Reilly, K. (2021, October 1). School mask mandates are going to court. Time.

Students are being watched in school with spyware

Students are being watched through spyware that their schools have encrypted in their computers. Some argue this is invasive and illegal, while Gaggle, the tech company that creates and maintains the spyware, claims it saves lives. Gaggle is a tech company that provides an early warning system to identify children in crisis before tragedy strikes. They monitor the schools learning platforms such as Google’s workspaces Office 365 and their emails. They’re looking for indications through AI technology and human safety agents to review the items to determine if the words such as suicide cutting I hate myself may be an issue.

Gaggle claims they don’t monitor the student’s private email addresses or social media. They are only looking at the school-provided tools Gaggle calls the digital playground. At the school, Gaggle currently protects over five million students. Last year alone, they sent over 140,000 alerts about students talking about suicide or self-harm incidents.

 Recently CEO Jeff Patterson appeared on CBS after an article on the 74 criticized Gaggle. He wanted to talk about the results from a study that they did nationwide between March 2020 and March 21 during the pandemic. The report from the 74 was written in September. The data from the CDC that there is a decline in self-inflicted fatalities did not hinder the uptick in schools purchasing Gaggle software.

In October 2021, physicians called a national emergency for mental health in students. Gaggle is causing more good than harm. Research by Gaggle shows that (Gaggle.Net & Inc, 2021) 81% of teachers report having monitoring spyware in their school’s Gaggle is an early warning sign they use tags to identify issues they are providing student safety solutions OK homemade safety fact more salient among consumers.

There have been mixed media reports and great PR. For CEO Jeff Patterson to defend his tech company, he showed attribution and responsibility attribute (Coombs, 2007). the CDC says there is a crease in suicide yet then a mental health national crisis was declared in October overall in our world today with the digital world that students inhabit schools are taking risks seriously on the of the problem that can potentially occur while yes privacy is essential the fact that the danger that exists digitally is always an unknown it’s a hotly contested topic to spy on children it is deemed as a safe way to monitor students Jeff Patterson was forthright he made explicitly the statement that by being transparent with the lawmakers there’s a collective power in the number of schools that use Gaggle and promote this much-needed service the school is using gaggle too organization organizing timely consequence.

The video below shows the importance of this type of spyware he said that the software clearly helps students at risk they are not under 24 hour surveillance and this doesn’t inhibit students from expressing themselves openly he noted that children don’t always tell you what’s going on sometimes they use their email knowing that they’re being monitored as a cry for help they’re not always going to share their problems with an adult they believe that they provide more benefit for students in vulnerable groups the CEO was asked if this is an invasion of privacy is surveillance tools that are marketed as student safety solutions.

With the surge of spying on students recently, lawmakers have requested that these companies become more transparent and reveal their business practices Gaggle said they’re the leader in the industry and they are happy to rebuild their practices they can’t emphasize enough that there is a mental health crisis in the United States and it’s affecting the children according to the CDC last year alone 25% of young adults had seriously considered suicide within the previous 30 days the other research they did found that 50% increase in visits of girls between 12 and 17 he said that they do everything they can through third parties to protect their technology to make sure that the students information is not taken and privacy is maintained the information is very important that they have they made over 20,000 emergency phone calls to school officials to principals counselors because something urgent at the school needed to be aware of for the protection of the students.


Coombs, W. (2007). Protecting organization reputations during a crisis: The development and application of situational crisis communication theory. Corporate Reputation Review, 10(3), 163–176.

Gaggle.Net & Inc. (2021, September). 2020–2021 student safety report.

Keierleber, M. (2021, September 14). Exclusive data: An inside look at the spy tech that followed kids home for remote learning — and now won’t leave. The 74 million.

The pioneer in helping k-12 districts manage student safety on school-provided technology. (n.d.). the Learning Counsel.

Mental Health in our youth is declared a National Emergency

Mental health challenges in students due to the COVID-19 pandemic are insurmountable. On October 19th, 2021, The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the Children’s Hospital Association which collectively represent over 77,000 physicians and over two hundred children’s hospitals, declared a national emergency (Deliso, 2021). This group collectively called on policymakers to address the crisis and bring awareness to the high rise in families seeking mental health help for their children. The increase in mental health-related visits is nationwide children’s hospitals have seen a 45% increase in suicide and self-injury cases in five to 17-year-olds in 2019 (Deliso, 2021). According to Amy Winfrey night, the CDC found a staggering 50.6% increase in suicide attempts (Deliso, 2021).

The national emergency rang as the US Department of Education released a new resource supporting child mental and social needs through the $122 billion pandemic relief funding available to state and local education leaders (Deliso, 2021). U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona shared his sentiment in a statement, “Amid the pandemic, we know that our students have experienced so much. We cannot unlock students’ potential unless we also address the needs they bring with them to the classroom each day. As educators, it’s our responsibility to ensure that we are helping to provide students with a strong social and emotional foundation so that they also can excel academically.”

In this event, the role of public relations is to inform policymakers and the public that there is a national emergency in children’s mental health. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the Children’s Hospital Association have joined forces to alert the nation of the dire need for more funding to raise awareness to ensure students’ mental health needs are met. The timing of this event was perfect as it came as the US Department of Education released resources that were shared to help schools support student mental health.

The Situational Crisis Communications Theory can be applied to this event because the focus is on the victims of COVID-19, the youth in America. Coombs states (2021)it is good to use this theory in a national crisis. The public relations practice reflected this model in that this announcement is a way for the three groups to alert the media and frame the communications to affect the policymakers. They remove attribution of responsibility amongst themselves. Coombs argues (2021) that framing a problem as a crisis changes how the organization responds. When a problem is defined as a crisis, the organization spends more resources (2021). The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the Children’s Hospital Association are practicing honest communication by using framing, which is an excellent way to explain the developments in this situation the youth are in trouble. They are victims of the COVID-19 mental health crisis arising in action that needs to be taken at once. This event also highlighted other victims such as parents, doctors, teachers, and caretakers limited due to the lack of resources. SCCT is used in media framings such as national emergencies or as a strategic way for the stakeholders to attribute responsibility to the government.

I recommend connecting the information with a few personal stories to make it more emotionally contagious. The facts and numbers are staggering; however, to hear individual stories, even anonymous, would heighten the level of reactions from the public to create perhaps a more extensive conversation and more outrage to push this crisis to a more comprehensive overall solution-oriented discussion.


Coombs, W. (2021). A social struggle against covid-19, crisis communication during the pandemic: Trust and proximity of Italian public healthcare sector administrations. SOCIOLOGIA DELLA COMUNICAZIONE, (61), 990–1001.

Deliso, M. (2021, October 19). Children’s mental health crisis a ‘national emergency,’ pediatric groups declare. ABC News.

Are Critical Race and Cancel Culture silencing students with fear of being canceled?

Cancel culture, and critical race theory are creating education upheaval. Critical race theory and cancel culture have vastly produced hate outrage and emotional response in our communities. According to Gerstmann (2021), half of all states passed laws restricting critical race theory in schools. Critical race theory is an academic term that increases concern for canceling culture by creating racial separation and shaming white students based on their race (Gerstmann, 2021). This has come under fire in the political arena as the 2022 elections are approaching. Depending on what perspective they are most aligned with, politicians’ concerns will have a profound results direct result.

The author argues that abusive practices in the name of racial progression are happening daily. One example is a professor at Penn State who seems to be the most outspoken and unapologetic. One of many possible examples is what happened in a large Penn State lecture class recently.

The Professor, Sam Richards, approached a random white student. He didn’t seek the student’s consent to be made an example out of. He said, “I just take the average white guy in class; whoever it is, it doesn’t really matter. Dude, this guy here. Stand up, bro. What’s your name, bro? Look at Russell, right here, it doesn’t matter what he does. If I match him up with a black guy in class, or a brown guy… who’s just like him, has the same GPA, looks like him, walks like him, talks like him, acts in a similar way…and we send them into the same jobs…Russell has a benefit of having white skin.”

Examining this incident and Penn State’s response, the administration replied that “Professor Richards purposefully teaches in a manner designed to promote discussion across a spectrum of opinions” (Gerstmann, 2021). The denial posture of the Situational Crisis Communications Theory can be applied here. Penn State’s lack of culpability inserts the strategy to remove any connection from Professor Richards and frame the response that he is the expert teaching in a purposeful manner which is another way for the organization to remove itself from the crisis (Coombs, 2007, p. 171).

Today’s students face the challenge of their education experience being limited based on these teachings. The fear of being canceled limits the ability of students to have truthful, authentic conversations (Gerstmann, 2021).

The students of today are the future of tomorrow. How can a society evolve when being reminded of all the bad that has happened in an intimate setting such as a classroom? Well, yes, free speech and academic freedom are most important so are the structure in which they are heard and taught. When a university promotes this behavior from professors and approves of singling out students because they are white, they are guilty of abusing their academic responsibility.

The denial posture Penn State used was cowardly. Their communication team did not evaluate the big picture. The backlash has ensued throughout digital media because of this behavior and lack of accountability or communication. Following the guidelines in SCCT, they could have informed or adjusted the information to provide a more intelligent response (Coombs, 2007). Any reputational damage to Penn State could have been avoided with the proper response. Penn State could have even removed itself from the situation or acted accountably. Instead, their poor communications efforts or lack thereof may produce reputational damage, financial loss.

Let’s not forget about the students who are afraid to use the free expression for fear of being canceled. While it is essential to teach all different kinds of history, it should be conducted so that it’s safe to have discussions and intelligent dialect to promote and further learning. Although students are afraid to speak, how can they even have the courage to learn when they’re too busy monitoring their every move? How can students be present when they constantly feel as if they’re in danger by simply participating in class.


Coombs, W. (2007). Protecting organization reputations during a crisis: The development and application of situational crisis communication theory. Corporate Reputation Review, 10(3), 163–176.

Gerstmann, E. (2021, August 2). Denying the abuses of critical race theory and cancel culture. Forbes.

Jacqui Phillips

About the author

Jacqui’s mission in life is to inspire others to aspire to be their best selves.

Jacqui Phillips’ #1 Amazon Best-Selling book ‘RESET’ is a journey. In ‘RESET’ she tackles 6 problem areas all of us deal with at one point or another: Health & Fitness, Relationships, Finances, Emotions, Appearance, and Faith. More importantly, we learn that despite setbacks, it is never too early or too late to ‘RESET’ your life.

‘RESET’ is recommended as a ‘must-read’ by Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter Judy Collins, Academy Award-nominated actor Chazz Palminteri, former Major League Baseball player Four-Time World Series Champion Darryl Strawberry, Kung Fu World Champion Sifu Karl Romain, and many more.

As an inspirational speaker, Jacqui encourages others to dare to dream. No dream is too big because it is your opportunity to reach for your goals and take what is meant for you. Jacqui facilitates this through her nonprofit RESET program by touring the country doing prison ministry, visiting schools, and sowing into others.

She is a master business coach and certified professional life coach with Fowler International Association, a president’s club member of the Christian Women in Media Association, an alumni member of the Association of Women Inventors & Entrepreneurs, and an active member of The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, New York.