Rantz: Teacher secretly recorded pressuring kids to get vaccinated, says we’re ‘not very good Americans’ on masks

Jun 30, 2021, 6:28 PM | Updated: Jul 1, 2021, 10:54 am
sumner, teacher...
Welcome to Sumner Middle School, where a teacher may pressure you into getting the COVID vaccine. (Photo: Sumner-Bonney Lake School District Facebook page)
(Photo: Sumner-Bonney Lake School District Facebook page)

A student recorded a middle school teacher in the Sumner-Bonney Lake School District as he repeatedly tried to persuade his class to get the vaccine. Now, the teacher faces “corrective action.”

The 8th-grade science teacher at Sumner Middle School spent time before the end of the semester to lecture his students on why they should get vaccinated. He said we were “not very good Americans” when it comes to masks. At one point, he even dismissed concerns over the likely link between two vaccines and heart inflammation in kids. Last week, a 13-year-old Michigan boy died after getting the vaccine.

In response, the district is distancing itself from the teacher.

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Sumner teacher lays on the COVID vaccine pressure

One student recorded portions of the teacher pushing the class to get the COVID vaccine. The student’s father passed four videos to the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. The phone was turned to the student’s desk most of the time so you could not see the teacher.

During the class, the teacher addressed vaccine hesitancy amongst younger people. And he helped frame the decision to get vaccinated for these middle schoolers.

“Please, please try to be scientific about it and use the break I gave you and say, ‘OK, here’s all that I know. If I want to know more, I can go get some research, you know, and ask people I trust and things like that,'” he said, according to the video. “But try to be more scientific about it and don’t base your decisions based upon opinion. Because it seems like a lot of people right now are a little misguided when it comes to a lot of information. And as a result, I think that there’s … maybe if you had all the information you might make a different decision for yourself. I don’t know.”

The teacher does not identify the false information related to a vaccine’s impact on the health of teens. Instead, he addressed unspecified “rumors.”

“Some rumors are out there … when you listen to rumors, you’re not really relying on the science to help guide your decision,” he said. “So you can come to the wrong conclusion and then maybe have regrets down the road for not making a good decision.”

Teacher downplays myocarditis concerns

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention acknowledged a “likely association” between the vaccines and myocarditis last week. The condition is reported to be most prevalent amongst young adults, primarily boys.

Though still reportedly rare, myocarditis can be deadly. In Kenmore, a teenager detailed to the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH his scary experience developing myocarditis just days after receiving the second vaccine. Luckily, Evan Morud sought medical treatment and has since recovered.

For the Sumner teacher, myocarditis was rare enough for him to think the vaccine for healthy young kids is worth it.

“I know that there’s some drawbacks to [the vaccine],” he said. “Some, out of how many, let’s say that about … I haven’t seen the actual numbers but I’m gonna make it up. Out of 10,000 people. Maybe five are having a large heart issues. Is that enough?” he says before the video cuts off.

The CDC reports 267 cases of myocarditis or pericarditis reported after receiving one dose of the mRNA vaccines. After two doses, through mid-June, there have been 827 reported cases. They note they still have 132 cases where they do not yet know how many doses were received before the symptoms.

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We’re ‘not very good Americans’ on masks

During the class, the teacher turned his attention to people who refuse to wear masks. It appears inspired by a student who is heard on the video explaining that his unvaccinated dad doesn’t wear a mask. His response, to me, implies he’s asking his student to ignore his father.

“I can live with the mask. I can live with the mask for another year if I have to, or longer if I have to,” the teacher said. “But I wear the mask for people that are not vaccinated. I don’t wear it for me. You don’t wear it for you. We do it because we love other people and we want to wear a mask and hopefully be safe. That’s it. There’s nothing political about your mask. It’s just for health reasons.”

How selfless. But then he sounded annoyed or angry. Maybe both.

“And the part that I hate the most about this is that we’ve learned that we’re not very good Americans. We don’t treat each other with respect. If you don’t want to get the shot, and I get the shot, am I better than you or have the right to tell you the way it is? No. But we have people even in families, maybe in your family, people at odds bashing heads over some stupid viruses and [inaudible]. And people are getting killed over it.”

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District distances itself from the teacher

The Sumner-Bonney Lake School District listened to the audio of the teacher to better understand the context that was recorded.

“Recognizing and respecting the diverse opinions and beliefs about COVID-19, the Sumner-Bonney Lake School District takes a neutral stance on the topic of vaccinations,” the district spokesperson told the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH via email. “At this time, COVID-19 vaccinations are not required to attend school or participate in activities. Currently, students and families do not need to identify or say if a student is vaccinated, and they will not be asked their vaccination status.”

The spokesperson says the district does not endorse the teacher’s message. And the teacher could face consequences.

“We do not condone any staff member discussing with students their personal opinions or beliefs on whether to get the COVID-19 vaccination,” the spokesperson said. “If such an incident is brought to our attention, we will take appropriate corrective action.”

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Here’s the problem

Based on the teacher’s tone, he was delivering the message in good faith. I think he wants what’s best for his students, and he believes the vaccine will protect them fully. But the message was still remarkably inappropriate and shows a lack of judgment.

Whether or not there are reports of serious side effects, getting a vaccine is a medical decision that must be left to students and their parents. It’s also dangerous for him to downplay side effects, even if they’re rare.

There is a strategy by some to deny or downplay side effects like myocarditis because they believe discussing it could scare kids away from getting vaccinated. But by not focusing on a potentially serious side effect, they’re effectively telling kids to ignore side effects as normal, rather than potentially tied to heart inflammation. That could be a deadly mistake.

Having a general conversation around vaccines can be appropriate in the classroom, especially if students ask and a teacher delivers good-faith answers. But this turned into proselytizing.

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Rantz: Teacher secretly recorded pressuring kids to get vaccinated, says we’re ‘not very good Americans’ on masks