Some may say we’ve moved past the events of COVID-19 and learned our lessons about the need for vigilance and government oversight. Some don’t believe restrictions like the ones we witnessed four years ago could ever be implemented again. Those individuals would be wrong; we have fresh evidence to prove it.

During the total solar eclipse, hundreds of school districts canceled classes “in the name of safety.” While some institutions sent students home early, others canceled school for the entire day. More recently, students in New York missed out on instruction time because President Biden was in town for a fundraiser. More instruction time was lost by students who are still struggling to catch up from the months they missed during COVID-era prolonged school closures. It seems pretty clear that those charged with promoting student attendance and student learning have not learned their lesson.

As we move further away from the period of tyrannical government overreach and violations of our constitutional rights during the COVID-19 pandemic, the pain and suffering felt by those impacted might have lost some of its sting. For others, the infringements of our rights left deep scars and were a catalyst to speak up to ensure such events never happened again.

When I was called to testify before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Constitution and Limited Government about the profound impact COVID-19 policies had on my family, it was a significant moment and one I never could have anticipated. My focus was on my youngest son, a high school junior at the time of school closures. In response to a question on social media about why I was “rehashing” events from four years ago, I emphasized the importance of ensuring such events never recur. 

Watching my son and his peers lose their motivation and desire to invest fully in their education and future spurred me to find and use my voice to remind our elected officials that our government was designed to require them to ask citizens for permission, not the other way around. Witnessing the apathy toward school among so many of my friends’ children and experiencing firsthand the dismissive attitudes of our school board members when we expressed our concerns and desire for schools to reopen catapulted me into advocating for my rights as a parent. 

The damaging and unnecessary school closures also led me to support educational freedom that allows parents, not the government, to choose the best learning environment for their children. The families who had that freedom during COVID-19 were mostly free from the fallout I described in my testimony. That means the students who already struggled in school due to issues surrounding low socioeconomic status were hit the hardest by the harsh policies. Those were the students we helped in the “learning lab” my church opened when schools refused to open. Hearing the helplessness their parents felt throughout was heartbreaking.

When a friend’s daughter applied for the nursing program offered through her high school, she saw it as a way to get a headstart on her career and save money on college. Instead, she was relegated to taking virtual classes for part of her junior and the entirety of her senior year, then unable to pass the math and anatomy courses required in her first year at the community college. She felt like she was in the game of “Chutes and Ladders” and had fallen down the long chute that took her back to “start”. She lost money and nearly two years of precious time all because her free public school shut its doors to her.

For those who dismiss the damaging COVID-era policies as a thing of the past, I insist that we must demand accountability and a solid assurance that such overreach will never recur. Benjamin Franklin’s words, “A republic, if you can keep it,” remind us of our ongoing responsibility to safeguard our rights and liberties. This is not a task to be taken lightly but a call to action for each of us. 

David Hume, the esteemed philosopher, once observed, “It is seldom that liberty of any kind is lost all at once.” The government’s overreach four years ago was a litmus test to see if people would silently comply and surrender their rights and those of their children or if they would demand constitutional adherence from their elected representatives. Seeing the growing number of parents nationwide demonstrate that they do not intend to surrender is very encouraging.