Rodger McDaniel FILE

Rodger McDaniel

After reading of the Laramie County School District 1 board meeting, I felt a deep sadness. Sadness for the children, the teachers and those willing to serve as school board members. What has become of our community?

Grown men and women screeching at one another, booing, yelling at those with whom they disagree, people demanding “their rights,” ignoring responsibilities schools have for the safety of our children during a pandemic. Two days later, we learn Wyoming recorded 488 new COVID cases, raising the total to 2,674 active cases, the highest level seen since mid-December.

We are so polarized we can’t protect children from deadly threats. “We, the People,” and “E Pluribus Unum” became “Me, Myself and I.” Adults are schoolyard bullies, demanding the “right” to infect others. Not a constitutional right. An abrogation of responsibility.

Despite breathtaking ignorance, you do have a right to homeschool your kid, but not to put mine at risk.

The “packed room” was filled with people opposed to requiring children to wear masks. How many of those complaining about masks are among the majority of Wyomingites eschewing the vaccine? Imagine. School board meetings becoming mudwrestling, super-spreader events.

Some are still pissed off at Copernicus, clinging to the idea that they, not the Sun, are the center of the universe. Therefore, their notions about what ought to be are more important than how medical professionals describe how it is.

There’s little to be gained arguing about the science. They’ve watched more than 600,000 Americans die and still don’t believe in the science. Shameful. They were told the delta variant is far more easily spread and that nearly all deaths are among the unvaccinated. Yet they oppose masks, and many of them refuse to be vaccinated. There is no science-based appeal that will change their minds.

Nonetheless, how can it possibly be responsible parenting to teach your kids not to wear a mask during a pandemic?

In the movie “Dark Knight,” Joker explains why he feels no responsibility to the community. “I’m just a dog chasing cars.” His role was to disrupt and cause trouble.

Folks at the school board meeting chased the “mask car” before distracted by another. Off they went on the boogeyman: critical race theory. Although that title goes bump in their night, my bet is none of them could define it. None read a book about CRT. They are oblivious to the fact it is not taught in the school district.

When they heard teachers were using books mentioning “racism,” the car chase was on. They complained about books they never read; books that speak to students about racism, suicide and child abuse. Wouldn’t you like to know why they don’t want their kids talking about suicide and child abuse? Hmmm.

One parent said schools should only teach “math, English and social studies.” Teach your children what you want in your home school. Let our children learn truth in public schools.

After booing other speakers, they demanded to know why the board “doesn’t listen to us,” meaning, “Why don’t we get our way when we throw tantrums?” C’mon. Quit acting like the Joker. Wear a mask. Get the vaccine. Be the “neighbor” Jesus spoke about.

This behavior didn’t start with Trump. Maybe with the Tea Party. They converted public forums into gladiator contests. Maybe in Little Rock, after the courts ordered schools integrated. I was a 9-year-old schoolkid, but photographs of frightened Black kids walking into school, taunted by white heirs of those at the school board meeting, are burned into my psyche.

Adults. Mouths wide open. Spitting and spewing. Screeching at children. Many of those racists matured. Several apologized. Most had to be horrified when their children saw those photographs in history books. Still enough found that behavior exhilarating enough to pass it on to their children like an heirloom.

Perhaps it started in Jerusalem when the crowd screamed “Crucify him.” Adults casting aside truth for what seemed to be right in their eyes.

Rodger McDaniel lives in Laramie and is the pastor at Highlands Presbyterian Church in Cheyenne. Email:

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