The Hunt for Witches in Avondale Elementary School District

I am sure you have heard the story of the Salem Witch Trials. Teenage girls would accuse women and even men that they did not like of being witches. The trial would proceed and in order to show that they were or were not a witch, the accused would be thrown in water. If they could swim, they were a witch. If they drowned, they were not a witch, but died anyhow.

A parent posted that her school district, the Avondale Elementary School District in Arizona, is asking permission for pooled “c-v” testing.

I read this and was absolutely appalled. While they state that “knowledge is power”, they is also can be used against people when it is abused.

I came up with a list of concerns immediately on this process.

  • How will the samples be stored? Will they be stored individually or all mixed up? Pooled seems to mean they will be all put together, and therefore touching each other. One child with an infected specimen would therefore infect all of the samples.
  • If the children are doing this to themselves, how will they prevent injury? We tell kids all the time not to stick things up their noses, and now we are instructing them to do this! This is a nightmare for teachers.
  • How are teachers going to make sure that a kid whose parents do not want them to do this does not do it? Permission forms are completely week. This puts the onus on the child to remember that they aren’t supposed to do it and gives them the burden to push off peer pressure.
  • What happens with the samples? Who is in charge of the samples? Where do they go, how are they stored? How are they destroyed? What happens with them?
  • How are they storing the information on the the end of the qtip?
  • If Concentric is making me sign this form and it is supposed to be pooled and therefore anonymous, why are you asking my child’s ethnicity? You should already have demographics of the school.
  • There are false positives and false negatives and this company states that, so the “knowledge is power” doesn’t even make sense. It is an abuse of power if they know that they are going into this knowing that they are giving out faulty information.
  • That pooled testing is going to give higher false positives.

So, that Witch Hunt? Where does that come in?

In the email, the school district says that they are making decisions with this information on whether they will continue in school learning. Will parents have to stay home or find alternative care without much notice from the school because there are errant tests? Parents will start looking for the child (or children) who might have infected their kid!

Just like a witch hunt, parents will start whispering about which groups their kids were in and what tests they took, and eventually they will find a scapegoat. Unfortunately, the person who they find might not even be the one who actually caused their child to be sick. Just like the witch trials, that person might just be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Instead of coming together and learning that our immune systems need some work, our kids need to have a social outlet and kids need to be in school, Avondale Elementary School District is putting together an inevitable Witch Hunt based on scant evidence, scare tactics and very little science. Oh, and your tax dollars too.

Avondale Elementary School District is not the only one doing this, so be aware!

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