Homeschooling Feed

There's a Revolution Happening in Education - Oct 1-3

This conference is not for everyone.

My friend Dr. Edith Ubuntu Chan has brought together some of the most powerful voices in homeschooling and unschooling, for a three-day conference dedicated to breaking old education paradigms and building new ones.

This fall, many families are RISING UP and choosing to raise their children in ways that are far more respectful, and honoring of the individual child, than most of what we know as "education" has been. 

If you are among them, consider signing up, here

(Note: This is an affiliate link, and I will get a little something for everyone who signs up from it.)

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If You Want to be on the Mailing List:

 

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Yes, I am starting a list for those who want to be in my new membership group – the one for people who are serious about building alternative systems to the one that is falling down around us. (See below. Also, I forgot to mention in that post, both protection and justice. Those need new systems too, and will be part of our discussions.)

If you'd like to be on this list, please just email me. You can find my email at the "email me" link to the right of this post - or... right here: BretigneATgmailDOTcom.

And welcome aboard!

 

 


An Announcement

 

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I've been saying for years now that the most important thing we can do – those of us who care about liberty and about having a free society to live in – is to build the foundations of that society now. Not to complain about the increasingly authoritarian society we find ourselves in, but to build its replacement.

For me, this is especially true in the realm of what most of us call "social services": Caring for the most vulnerable, education, and health care. (For some background as to how the state has stifled private solutions in these areas, see my video on Sanctuary Jurisdictions for Medical Freedom.) And, as I just got home from five weeks in the hospital with our daughter, dealing with her seizures, the need for solutions here is especially fresh for me.

Now, halfway into 2021, and amid the wreckage that has been wrought – in healthcare, in education, and in the lives of the most vulnerable among us – this focus is needed more than ever. For me, that means that it is time to stop talking and start building.

So I am going to be putting my podcast on hold – not stopping it entirely, but I will no longer commit to producing an episode each week. If something comes up, and especially if it is directly related to what I am building, then I will put out the occasional episode. The same goes for my writing and blogging generally.

What will I be doing instead? A few things, starting with creating a small, Private-Membership-Association school, and with laying the groundwork for a self-sustaining home and community for those with intellectual disabilities that require them to have support and care throughout their lives.

There will be many pieces to this larger project, including healthcare, therapy, vocational training, and hopefully the incorporation of elder care. Ultimately, we will be looking for other like-minded entrepreneurs to partner with us.

And of course, these projects are part of a much bigger picture. I'm not the only one who realizes that this is what we need to be doing. All over the world, people are looking into and starting intentional communities, Private Membership Associations, and other structures for carving out spaces where people can live as they choose. There has long been a need for this, but after the sudden (it wasn't really all that sudden) takeover of our lives by authoritarian overlords, the need has become urgent.

So we need to be talking with each other. I don't mean that we all need to agree about precisely what our solutions will look like, or even have a shared grand vision. Only that we share the core principle of human liberty, and a desire to connect, support each other, share ideas, and in some cases collaborate.

To this end, I will be starting a membership group for people who are serious about building free societies. If you have created, or are looking to create, a PMA, a mutual-aid society, a "sanctuary for freedom" city, any kind of alternative healthcare or health insurance project, an organic food co-op or network, homeschooling co-op, or are serious about creating any kind of alternative support system and/or society that respects individual liberty, then this might be the group for you. 

Basic membership will be free. Later, I will probably add a paid membership option, for things like webinars with people with expertise in these areas, and maybe training sessions. I will keep everyone posted as it develops, and should have something in place by mid July. 

Finally, thank you to everyone who has been listening to "What Then Must We Do?" I promise the podcast will be back full-time, at some point in the future. For now, though, I need to focus on building.


Dog-Eat-Dog Statism for Special-Needs Families: You’re Either at the Table or You’re on the Menu

 

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Image: Non-commercial use

 

I wrote this six years ago, but I think the issues I raise here are more relevant than ever:

 

I wouldn’t have expected a conference on therapy for children with autism and related disorders to have much to say about politics, but in a country where the state’s tentacles reach into pretty much every aspect of human life, I should have known better.

My daughter is developmentally disabled and I am pursuing more child-centered therapies for her than the more widely recognized ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) method, so last fall I attended the DIR Floortime Conference on Floortime, a more play-based form of therapy.

As soon as I walked in, I was struck by two phrases: “Parent Choice” and “Advocacy.” I was pretty sure that “Parent Choice” wasn’t going to mean what I hoped it would mean. So I asked someone who was wearing a big button with the phrase on it, and found that indeed, “Parent Choice” in this context simply refers to having the “choice” to force your insurance company to pay for alternative therapies in addition to the more established ABA method.

The issue revolves around a bill that was passed in 2011, SB 946, that mandates insurance coverage for developmental therapies to treat autism and Autism Spectrum Disorder. However, either due to the way the bill was written or to the way it has been interpreted – and with much thanks to the ABA lobby – the insurance codes only apply to ABA therapy and not to alternatives. So now the DIR/Floortime lobby is rallying to change that. Of course, as someone who doesn’t believe in forcing other people to give me anything, I couldn’t support this kind of “choice”, but I just smiled and moved on.

As it turned out, the guest of honor at the conference’s gala dinner was Dr. Louis Vismara, senior policy consultant to California Senator Darrell Steinberg, the author of SB 946. Dr. Vismara spoke on the first morning of the conference and assured parents that he would work hard to get the problem fixed so that parents could also force their insurance companies to pay for Floortime therapy. There was much applause.

There were other concerns too. Some parents had felt the effects of state budget cuts and had to struggle to get the services they needed for their children. Dr. Vismara sympathized with these concerns and stressed the importance of being active in “advocating” for their children. He said that, in the world of public policy, “you’re either at the table or you’re on the menu.”

He ended his talk by urging parents to get involved in the political process, and to contact his office with any practical proposals. “If a specific problem is identified and there is a solution”, he said, then that solution has a “strong chance” of being implemented.

I had identified a specific problem and had a solution in mind. So at the end of his talk, I went up to him and asked him about it.

 

Read the rest here.

 

 


WTMWD #43: Kerry McDonald on a powerful weapon against teen depression. Also: What to do about Halloween!

 

 

 

 

I speak with unschooling mom and homeschooling advocate Kerry McDonald about an upcoming 4-day webinar to help inspire teens' inner entrepreneurs – and about why it is more critical than ever that we encourage our teens to find ways to create and to contribute now.

We also talk about Halloween...

FEE's "Entrepreneur Week" is Nov. 16-19, and is FREE. You can sign up here.

Kerry's book, "Homeschooling in the Time of Covid-19" is available for download here.

Her article "How our Culture Disempowers Teens", from last year, is here.

And her recent article on the Halloween bans is here.

 

 


WTMWD #35: Connor Boyack: Fighting the war over our children's minds

 

 

 

 

 

 

I speak with Connor Boyack, author of the Tuttle Twins series. He talks about the war that is being waged for our children's minds, why independent thinking is so critical, and gives some positive inspiration for communicating the philosophy of liberty.

You can find the Tuttle Twins books here.

Connor's Libertas Institute is here.

And the book by Milton Meyer, "They Thought They Were Free" is here.

 


A Shameless Plug - but Also Not

 

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This is a shameless plug... but it's also not.
 
I really do believe that the most important thing right now, at this moment in time (and also always) the thing that is most missing right now, the thing that civilization itself depends upon, is independent thinking.
 
That's what my book, Annabel Pickering & the Sky Pirates - the Fantastical Contraption, is all about. I don't think I'm at all preachy about it, and if I've done a good job of it then you won't come away saying "well that was one fantastic book about independent thought! I'll have to recommend it to all the parents I know!" You'll come away saying "wow! What a great adventure story with pirates and air ships and anarchy and a plucky young schoolgirl! I can't wait to find out what happens in the next one!"
 
...but it's really about independent thinking.
 
You be the judge though.
 
 
 

16 Children's Books You Didn't Know Were Anti-Authoritarian

 

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I wrote this list for FEE.org back in December, but I realize that it has never been more appropriate or more necessary than right now. Enjoy:

 

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Kids solving problems and getting out of predicaments on their own without the help of adults (indeed, often with their hindrance) is a common theme in children's literature. But some books go even farther, diving straight into outright anti-authoritarianism. Good for them—if you're going to impart moral lessons in children's literature (not always a good idea), why not impart the ones that are most sorely neglected in the real world?

Here are sixteen that stand out:

 

1. Snow Treasure

The kids are the heroes in this thrilling WWII story, based on real events. Nazi troops have occupied a small Norwegian village. The townspeople fear that they will steal all of their savings—nine million dollars worth of gold—but they have no way of getting it to safety . . . except for a bunch of kids on sleds. An action-packed look at finding creative ways to work around official control and theft.

 

2. The Toothpaste Millionaire

Young entrepreneurs figure out how to make a better, cheaper, toothpaste, and become wildly successful. They also learn about corporate malfeasance when one of the big players doesn't like the competition. Fun for the whole family! (Unless you're a corrupt toothpaste dynasty family.)

 

3. Pippi Longstocking

Beloved Pippi is a nine-year-old girl with extraordinary strength and no parents, which is "…of course very nice because there was no one to tell her to go to bed just when she was having the most fun…" When the police come to take Pippi away to a children's home, she tells them she already has one, and then plays tag with them, traps them on her roof, and sends them away with cookies.

 

4. Charlotte's Web

Just because something is in print doesn't mean it's true. And controlling what people believe is one of the greatest tools of every authoritarian. Even a little spider knows that.

 

5. Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix

Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry has come under the control of the Ministry of Magic, and students are prohibited from learning the magical skills they will need to defend themselves against evil.

Harry Potter and his friends decide to take matters into their own hands, forming a secret group and teaching each other the skills they need. This volume contains one of the best ever depictions of a petty, vindictive, authoritarian personality, in the deliciously detestable Dolores Umbridge.

 

...read the rest of the list here.

 

 

 


Inside the Mind of an Authoritarian: Kerry McDonald Debates Harvard Professor who Called for "Presumptive Ban" on Homeschooling

 

 

This past Monday, unschooling mom and homeschooling advocate Kerry McDonald took on the Harvard professor, Elizabeth Bartholet, who recently called for a "presumptive ban" on homeschooling. Their debate was sponsored by the Cato Institute, and you can watch it here.

I give Professor Bartholet credit for engaging in the debate. It is rare that those of the–let's just call it "authoritarian"–persuasion are willing to engage in open debate with those who do not share their worldview. But to be frank, Kerry (very politely and very professionally) stomped her into the pavement and then ran back and forth over her with a steamroller.

As Kerry points out in her follow-up commentary, this debate is not only about homeschooling. It is fundamentally about the relationship of all of us to the state:


While this event was framed as a discussion about homeschooling, including whether and how to regulate the practice, it is clear that homeschooling is just a strawman. The real issue focuses on the role of government in people’s lives, and in particular in the lives of families and children. In her 80-page Arizona Law Review article that sparked this controversy, Professor Bartholet makes it clear that she is seeking a reinterpretation of the US Constitution, which she calls “outdated and inadequate,” to move from its existing focus on negative rights, or individuals being free from state intervention, to positive rights where the state takes a much more active role in citizens’ lives.

 

To get a peek into the mindset of those who believe wholeheartedly in both the rightness and the capability of the state to direct every aspect of our lives–and also to see the feebleness of that position exposed–it is worth watching the whole thing.

Kerry was a guest on my podcast earlier this month, talking about how we can give our kids "old normal" lives, and she will be back on next week talking about this debate and its significance not only for homeschooling families but for anyone concerned about freedom.

 

 


A Young Girl Learns the Value of Questioning Authority

 

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Back in March, Kirkus Reviews had a profile of me, in which I discuss my writing, my life, and especially Annabel. You can check it out here.

From the profile:

In Annabel Pickering and the Sky Pirates: The Fantastical Contraption, 13-year-old Annabel, a latter-day Pippi Longstocking, gets ensnared in a battle between authoritarians and freedom fighters after her parents are kidnapped by the police, who turn out to be the bad guys. She finds herself assisted in her own escape by rebel pirates, who turn out to be the good guys.

Bretigne Shaffer, a journalist who has turned to full-time fiction writing, considers themes of betrayal in Annabel Pickering. The middle-grade adventure book follows Annabel’s steam-powered adventures, which transport her from an elite girls’ school to the rule-breaking world of buccaneers. Set in an alternate 19th-century England—illustrated via Florian Garbay’s black-and-white images—Shaffer explores Annabel’s psychological changes as she sees loved ones’ darker sides. Shaffer explains that she wanted to show children the “nature of empire and war, freedom of speech and thought, [and] how prohibition affects society.” She also, she admits, is interested in pirates, having briefly written about piracy in the South China Sea in her past life as a journalist.

In Shaffer’s novel, which Kirkus calls “an engaging introduction to a world of wonder and intrigue,” children are brought up to respect the queen and the near-autocratic rule she enforces over her kingdom. When Annabel’s parents are abducted, she manages to evade capture and takes refuge with eccentric spinster Miss Doubtweather. Eventually Annabel, Miss Doubtweather, and her niece escape with the band of ill-mannered, law-breaking, fabulously brave pirates. 

As Annabel’s understanding of the complexities of intellectual and social freedom evolve and she learns that her kidnapped parents were part of a secret society of freethinkers, she begins to view them as moral heroes. This is heady stuff for middle graders, but Shaffer makes it accessible and age-appropriate. It’s also, she believes, essential for younger readers, particularly American ones, to think about the price individuals and societies pay when respect for authority turns into reverence.

 

 


WTMWD #16: Kerry McDonald on Homeschooling and the "New Normal"

 

 

 

I speak with Kerry McDonald, unschooling mom and vocal advocate of homeschooling, about how governments may have inadvertantly sparked a homeschooling revolution, and about what homeschooling families can do to continue giving their children "old normal" lives.

Kerry McDonald is a Senior Education Fellow at FEE and author of Unschooled: Raising Curious, Well-Educated Children Outside the Conventional Classroom (Chicago Review Press, 2019). She is also an adjunct scholar at The Cato Institute and a regular Forbes contributor.

Kerry's research interests include homeschooling and alternatives to school, self-directed learning, education entrepreneurship, parent empowerment, school choice, and family and child policy. Her articles have appeared at The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, NPR, Education Next, Reason Magazine, City Journal, and Entrepreneur, among others. She has a master’s degree in education policy from Harvard University and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Bowdoin College.

Kerry lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts with her husband and four children.

You can sign up for her weekly newsletter on parenting and education here.

 

 


Lockdown Truth from a Stranger #3: "Can You See What Else Is Crumbling?"

 

This is from Sufey Chen, on Facebook, who seems to be both brutally honest and brutally optimistic. We need so much of both now:

 

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this morning, at the park. two young girls, maybe 7 or 8, one pushing the other on the swings. i look over in surprise. they climbed over the tape. i feel my heart surge, yes! they did it.

a park ranger pulls over. on his microphone. ‘the playground is closed. you are trespassing.’ his drone dull and robotic. ‘leave the premise immediately.’ my heart sinks. is this really what i’m witnessing?

the ranger stays put. parks his vehicle beside the playground. watches for any other ‘dangerous citizens’ dissenting.

the children leave.
i want to shout out to them.

i am sorry.
i am sorry this is happening.

maybe one day my heart will be big enough to tenderly hold all the fear and sorrow of the world. but right now? i’m not there yet. i am angry. furious. that this is reality.

seeing the new school regulations popping up makes me sick. even if we are unschooling and will never participate in that system - why is it that ANY child should be subject to such insanity?

desks six feet apart.
constant sanitizing.
no sharing of supplies.
plastic barriers installed.
no communal lunch halls.
masks covering their face.
no hugs, no holding of hands, no touching.

does any of this sound physically or psychologically healthy to you?

or does it sound like the kids of this generation have become guinea pigs in a seriously fucked up experiment?

how much do we have to see before we rise up and say ‘no fucking WAY’ - this doesn’t cut it for me. instead of complying and regurgitating the crap we are fed: ‘what’s the big deal? it’s a minor inconvenience.’

after all, we’re ‘saving lives’.

how many have to die or live their life in tatters before enough lives have been saved?

who gets to decide who lives and who dies as a result of these ‘responsible’ ‘selfless’ ‘life saving’ policies?

the things i’ve seen and heard over the past two months are gut-wrenching - far more horrifying than a virus to me.

***

a mother, posting on facebook: ‘how do i get my 4-year-old to wear a mask?’

one response: ‘say that if she doesn’t wear a mask an evil virus will come kill her grandparents in their sleep.’

oh, holy hell.

***

i see parents freaking out about their children social distancing and losing their shit on a kid, being a kid.

so many confessionals of hitting children coming out in the mom groups i am privy to.

i don’t blame the parents but i do see the hellhole (ahem *new normal*) so many are accepting.

while everyone is out here ‘saving lives’ ...
can you see what else is crumbling?

can we take off our blinders?
can we put away the politics?
can you come off your high ‘health hero’ horse to see?

what this is doing to our children.
and by that, i mean collectively.
what our children around the world are facing.

some, that have actually been locked in isolation, nary another child to play with in months.

others, in famine.
260 million worldwide.
‘marching towards starvation.’

can we open our eyes?

whether death of body or death of spirit it is alarmingly clear that this is unacceptable.

***

i see some parents reassuring each other.
from all day screen time to child abuse to whatever behavioral issue they’re going through.
‘we’re all in this together.’

as if sacrificing them was actually worth it.
‘they’ll be fine - we all turned out fine’

... but did you really?
or is that just what you tell yourself so you don’t have to sit with the enormity of your grief?

we don’t have to pass our chains down onto our children. they don’t have to carry the burdens we bore. we do not need to make them as small as we were once made to be.

we have a choice in the matter.
there is a chorus of voices.

the mothers, we care.
the future - we are raising.

no one will rob the freedom of our children.
to touch, to be kissed by the warmth of skin
to connect, to feel and be felt by the world
to breathe, to receive Her vital life force

the mothers, we are weeping.
the mothers, we are gathering.
the mothers, we are awakening - to all of it now.

we are standing up - speaking up - rising up now.


 


Daily Log: Saving Humanity by Learning How to Live with Tech.

 

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I had some really amazing conversations at FEECON last month. Lots and lots of really smart, interesting, independent-minded people there, and lots to talk about. One of my favorite conversations was with another homeschooling mom (there were lots of those there too), whose name I didn't even get. Of course, the topic of "screens" came up. For me - and for a lot of parents, homeschoolers or not - this is my biggest challenge with our neuro-typical son. 
 
But this mom articulated it in a way that made me see the entire question differently. She said something to the effect of: "We're trying to figure out a balance between technology and 'real life', and to help our kids achieve this balance. And if we can get it right, it's one of the most important things we can do for the future of humanity."
 
I think she's right. Too much of the time, my own battle with technology, as a parent, consists of trying to find ways to limit it, to restict my son's "screentime." But there's so much more to it than that. This mom and I both agreed that we don't want to keep screens out of our kids' lives, we want them to be proficient in navigating the landscape that technology offers - a landscape that neither she nor I grew up with, and with which our kids are already far more proficient in many ways than we are.
 
But we also recognize that there are things we need as human beings - things like time spent in nature, face-to-face interactions with other humans, quiet time, to work with our hands, etc. - and that there are skills everyone needs to develop if they are going to be anything more than consumers and game players. Skills like: The ability to focus, to fend off distraction; the ability to think critically and evaluate the information one encounters; the ability to discern between substance and noise; and the nurturing of one's own moral compass.
 
Part of the problem with "screens" is down to the nature of the beast itself: From the physiological problems of exposure to blue light, to the way that communicating with others without seeing their faces changes both our communication and our ability to relate to others. But another part of the problem is just an augmentation of what we have always faced as humans: How to master our own minds. How to not just get sucked in to whatever attention-seeking piece of information happens to be floating around in front of us, but to focus on the things that we believe are important; How to not just adopt the viewpoints of the crowd around us, but really sit with something, think it through, and come to our own viewopoint; How to slice through all of the bullshit the world presents to us and distinguish between what is essential and worth spending time on, and what is not.
 
These are not new problems. The rate at which new information is being thrown at us may be new, but the underlying problem itself is not.
 
There's a lot more to say about this, but for now I just want to say that I now see this as THE big challenge for me as a homeschooling mom, and I'm going to be blogging more about it in the future. Partly just to help clarify my own thinking on the matter, because the God's honest truth here is that I have NO IDEA how to get this right. For myself, there have been a few times in my life when I really did have it right: In film school, when I was 100% focused on the work I was doing, all day long, and it was a beautiful thing; and again in the year and a half before I met my husband, when I was living on my own in Brooklyn, getting up and meditating every morning, going to ballet 3-4 times a week, teaching yoga and going to yoga classes, and also writing. It was so easy when I was on my own. But now, with a husband and two kids (I'm not complaining), one of whom needs lots of special care, and a day that is way too short for the list of things that Must Get Done... it is much more challenging. 
 
So that's my big challenge: Restoring peace and ...I'm not even sure what to call it... "right living"? "Balance" just sounds like jargon. I'll try to think of something better. Restoring the "real life" part of my life, and helping my son to have it too. And I suspect that the answer to getting it lies less in imposing restrictions on screens, and more in offering up meaningful (if not as immediately enticing) alternatives.
 
One of my favorite yoga teachers ever had this to say on the matter: "Learn to use technology, without letting it use you." That's the power I want to give to my son. 
 
Stay tuned as I work to figure this out.
 
 
 

 


Daily Log: Best Day Ever, and a Realization

 

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So yesterday was "the best day of my life!" for my son (one of many, in fact, to hear him tell it). But this one was pretty special. The studio where we both do kung fu had a "spring boutique" over the weekend, and I lugged a bunch of my Urban Yogini books over there to sell. I asked my son if he wanted to come with me, and he kind of reluctantly did. A little girl next to us was drawing portraits of people for a dollar, and my son decided he wanted to draw too, so he ran home and got some paper and colored pencils and brought them back. He started drawing pictures, and then started taking them around to people asking if they wanted them. A couple of people said they didn't want the ones he had done, but asked if he could draw something else for them. So he drew a dog for one person, another creature for someone else... he didn't ask for any money, but two of the people came over and gave him a dollar for the pictures. I don't think I've ever seen him so happy. Not because of the money, but because he had created something that people appreciated and valued. He's making plans now for their next boutique at Christmas time. (Yes, this is one of his drawings.)

This isn't a piece of news, but rather an observation about the news, and about sharing information: I used to frequently post stories about people being killed or abused by police or other government agents. I don't do that as much anymore, and I realized yesterday that there's actually a good reason not to. I realized that all of those stories, and all of our outrage about them, has just become a part of the landscape. Just as our outrage about the fact that we have to worry about school shootings has become part of what is "normal" now. And I think all of our posts and outrage about these things can just become wallpaper. I don't mean that we should be silent about it, or that we shouldn't be aware of what's going on, and help make others aware. Just that the more we fill the conversational space with these stories, the more we also help to normalize them, and to desensitize people to them. They just become part of what is expected.

So what's the solution? What is a better thing to do? I'm not sure, other than maybe share these stories in a different way, one that breaks through the wallpaper, gets people to see what's going on with fresh eyes. That, and offer up actual solutions, actions people can take to put a stop to what has become the norm.

 

 


NY State Health Commissioner Needs Our Support!

 

Yesterday, I signed a letter opposing the emergency declaration and forced quarantine of unvaccinated children in Rockland, NY. One of the recipients of that letter, the New York State Health Commissioner, Howard Zucker, wrote back to me. 

I saw it as a cry for help. This is his email to me, and my response is below.

 

Zucker email

 

Dear Mr. Zucker,

Thank you for writing to me. I am so relieved to hear that you were not involved in the emergency declaration in Rockland. Nevertheless, it must be a great source of embarrassment for you, as many people are now pointing to all of New York as an example of draconian and ill-informed – not to mention anti-Semitic – legislation that demonizes and restricts the freedom of one group of people for no legitimate reason.



You write, "Together with the Rockland County Department of Health, we launched a successful school exclusion initiative for unvaccinated students in the outbreak area and in partnership with the County and local healthcare providers, administered nearly 17,000 MMR vaccinations across the County - more than four times the number given over the same timeframe in each of the last two years."



OK, the first thing is: DON'T PANIC! Yes, you made a stupid decision, but haven't we all? I promise you can get through this if you just stay calm. 



As you know, measles is a relatively benign disease that only a few decades ago nearly EVERYONE contracted and recovered from. Before there even was a vaccine, the case fatality rate was around one in every ten thousand cases. Now we know that vitamin A is an effective treatment for measles, and that number would likely be much lower.

As I'm sure you also know by now, there has only been one confirmed death from measles in the US since 2003 (and a handful of unconfirmed deaths), but there have been more than 200 deaths associated with the MMR vaccine during the same period (the real number is probably much higher, due to well-documented underreporting). I'm sure you are also aware that the Cochrane Review has determined that safety studies for the MMR vaccine are "largely inadequate."



It is understandable if you've been caught up in the media's hysteria over this mild illness – so has most of the country. The hype has been pretty relentless, and completely one sided. So if you're not checking facts on your own, it's easy to get swept up in the misinformation. DON'T WORRY! You are not alone! That's the main thing to remember here: A lot of other people were taken in by this too. Now is not the time for judgement, but for healing. You WILL get through this!

The violation of basic rights (and, I believe, quarantine law), by restricting the unvaccinated (but ONLY the unvaccinated under the age of 18!) from public spaces, will be a bit harder to recover from. The anti-Semitic nature of the ban (which primarily targets an orthodox jewish community, and just before Passover) even more so. But again, you weren't directly involved in that, so I think you should be OK. Just be sure to avoid saying anything in public that might lead people to believe that you support this grotesque infringement of individual and parental rights.

Well that's all I've got. Just know that I'm so happy to hear that your department wasn't involved in this embarrassing travesty, and my thoughts are with you during this difficult time.



Don't give up!



Bretigne Shaffer