Alsea Superintendent Coaches Parents to Skirt Mask Mandate

Amidst the record-breaking resurgence of COVID-19 in Oregon, one Benton County school superintendent has found popularity in his community by coaching parents on how to avoid masking and vaccine laws for their children.   

Superintendent Marc Thielman of the Alsea School District has been instructing parents to use federal disability law to skirt Governor Brown’s recent mask mandate. He claimed that the mandate garnered “huge, huge pushback” from parents in his district, leading to his decision to instruct parents on how to avoid following a public health order.  

According to Thielman, local parents have been increasingly less likely to believe what they’re told about COVID, with many asking for alternatives to masking. That’s what led him to the idea of using the federal accommodations for those with disabilities to allow parents to keep their children unmasked, which isn’t surprising given his history of anti-mask beliefs.  

While he has received scrutiny for this decision that allegedly instructs parents to lie about their child’s health conditions, he feels he acted properly. On Aug. 18, Thielman posted to his @MarcforOregon Facebook page saying:  

“In addition to being the parent of a special needs child, in our school district we also have a higher percentage of special needs families than other districts and we are keenly aware of their challenges and needs. I stand firmly in support of each and every disabled and special needs child in the state. We were getting dozens of calls from frantic parents in our district and across Oregon after the new mask mandate was issued by Brown.”  

Thielman plans to run for governor next year when Brown’s term limits will prevent her from running again. His platform has been largely focused on, “standing up to do what’s right—even in the face of adversity—to fight against agenda driven policies and politics as usual.”   

Despite his insistence that he’s acted appropriately, Thielman has actively skirted masking laws and encouraged others to do the same.   

His most recent public statements on the scandal have found great support from many members of the public, regardless of the unmasked photo ops taken after the mask mandate was in effect.   

Thielman recently defended his stance on social media, claiming, “The Associated Press, much like Governor Kate Brown, made a major misstep by neglecting to address the fact that I am the father of a disabled and special needs adopted daughter — Molly Thielman.”  

The gubernatorial candidate has not made any public statement addressing the actual concern of safety that his actions have encouraged at the time of this article’s publication.  

By Ethan Hauck 

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