By Guy Page
After Gov. Phil Scott yesterday announced that on Monday, school workers will ask both students and parents if they traveled for Thanksgiving, Associated Press reporter Wilson Ring asked if this plan puts children in the position of tattling on their parents. Scott replied:
“This is fair warning. If you’re planning on having gatherings outside your households, if you don’t want to have your kids in remote learning and quarantine for a 7 day period, maybe you should make other plans. I’m not sure it’s ‘tattling’ on anyone.”
Scott and Health Commissioner Mark Levine argued such questioning is difficult but necessary to limit a greater pandemic outbreak, which would require further educational and business restrictions.
Many – but not all – commenters on Vermont Daily and other online news platforms disagreed.
Rep.-elect Art Peterson (Rutland-2), commented on Vermont Daily:
“Our governor has seriously overstepped his authority here in my opinion. To demand that students of all ages answer questions about how they’ve spent their time during a federal holiday is unethical if not illegal. And to ask businesses to do the same to affect the wages/employment of good people is beyond obnoxious and heavy handed. The tone of this is that most of us cannot and will not make good decisions, that we are selfish and don’t take the virus seriously. Governor Scott needs to apologize to the people of Vermont for his insulting and arrogant pronouncements.”
A pastor who reads Vermont Daily counsels parents to tell children to refuse:
“This is communism at its worst. Teachers spying on behalf of the government asking kids what they did outside of school. Parents should instruct their children (whether they submitted to the governors rules or not) to refuse to answer any question a teacher asks like that. This is “BIG BROTHER” at its worst.”
The late timing of the announcement troubled a Burlington reader:
“Why did Governor Scott wait until one and a half days before Thanksgiving to announce the Scott Snitch On Parents/Grandparents Mandate for kids? Great timing. We planned on having Thanksgiving using social distancing and separate tables (like going to a restaurant). This mandate is what you expect living under a totalitarian government.”
In an op-ed published on both Vermont Daily and True North, state government gadfly Bob Orleck invited the governor to his home for Thanksgiving:
“Instead of prohibiting Thanksgiving gatherings, the governor should join in with some of those who use this day, as they do every day, to give real thanks for a caring God in Heaven, for His provision and for the wonders of the nation He breathed life into almost 250 years ago. While he would have to violate his man-made rule, I invite him and his family to our humble house to give thanks that we still are a free nation with unalienable rights that neither he nor any other misguided despotic leader can unconstitutionally take away.”
A Franklin County resident sees inconsistency in the governor’s call for help to protect “vulnerable” Vermonters:
“It makes me sick to hear Gov. Scott say he wants to protect the most vulnerable when he signed H57 into law allowing preborn Vermonters to be killed right up to the moment of birth. As for the most vulnerable in nursing homes, we must remember it is a Vermont policy to badger people into signing “living wills”.
One commenter says the order presents an ethical problem for parents:
“I guess we have to teach kids and do it ourselves to lie lie lie lie.”
A frustrated retiree in Underhill offered:
“Damn this virus – which has been the perfect foil for these NEW Dictatorships. Demanding that a 3d grader should rat out his parents is so far from American life, that it seems more like Red China Or Cuba, Venezuela! Hitler youth, brown shirts. It’s a Brave New World at Animal Farm. Atlas just Shrugged – and said to hell with it all!
Commenters on True North and Vermont Daily tend to view Covid regulations through the lens of individual liberties first, public health restrictions second. Not surprisingly, then, none of the comments on these news outlets supported the governor’s decision. Vermont’s most-read online news platform, VT Digger, no longer publishes reader comments to new stories. But they are published on its Facebook page. Lola Duffert’s story on Scott’s announcement had drawn 122 comments as of 11:45 AM today – most negative towards the decision, but not all:
“I can not believe we have been through 9 months of this and people still don’t want to sacrifice but expect the virus to magically vanish.”
“Ok. My family will do our part to minimize spread. Thanks for the guidance based in local data and behavior.”
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