FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 13, 2021
TENNESSEE AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRICS CONDEMNS VIOLENT WORDS / AGGRESSIVE ACTIONS AIMED AT MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS.
The Tennessee Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (TNAAP) strongly condemns the violent words and aggressive actions aimed at medical professionals during and after the Williamson County School Board Meeting this week. We are deeply saddened by these attacks. Everyone should step back and question if this is the behavior we want to model for our children. As parents, we teach our children to have calm conversations and to respect others. The healthcare professionals who attended the meeting were there to provide recommendations based on evidence-based guidelines to allow for in-person schooling while also keeping children healthy and safe. TNAAP represents over 1000 pediatricians who have a duty to offer their expertise to protect the health of children and to advocate for their safe return to school. This is a critical effort that should never leave our pediatricians fearful of harm.
It is a myth that children do not get COVID. They do and we have cared for them (and continue to do so with increasing numbers). People who use the death rate for children or discount the death of a child who had an underlying condition to minimize COVID’s impact are not only disrespectful to the lives of those precious children but also missing the bigger issue. It is true that for many children, COVID will not cause significant illness, but for others, it leads to hospitalization, Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (MIS-C) or long-term side effects. They can also pass it to more vulnerable people in their homes or in the community. Because children under 12 are not eligible for vaccinations, vaccination rates are low in our state, and transmission rates of COVID are high, we must have a layered approach to mitigate the spread of COVID. At this point in time, a layered approach includes masking in schools. It is not going to be forever, but it is clearly needed now. We all recognize that we do not want multiple rounds of quarantine again especially when virtual school is not an option in some places. Our children need to be in school and learning, and their families must be able to go to work. Parents expect that when they send their child to school that they will not only receive an education, but that they will be kept safe from harm.
TNAAP supports the rights of parents to make decisions for their children, but those decisions should not infringe on the rights of other children and school staff, including our teachers. We hope parental decisions will be informed by public health needs and a desire to be a good neighbor. A recent Kaiser
Family Foundation poll shared on Fox News revealed that most parents support masks. TNAAP President, Dr. Anna Morad, added “Discussing child welfare and advocating for children should never cause pediatricians to fear for their safety. These are the same pediatricians who are trusted to provide care for children to keep them healthy and safe. They deserve to be kept safe as well.”
The Tennessee Chapter of American Academy of Pediatrics represents the voice of more than 1,000 Tennessee Pediatricians who are dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information visit www.tnaap.org.