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“You are perfectly free to be an idiot if you want to be an idiot, but you have to go sit over there,” is how I paraphrase the second paragraph of House Resolution 5, passed by the West Virginia House of Delegates on Jan. 13.

This resolution gives members of the House who don’t want to wear a mask during House sessions a special place they can sit to inhale and exhale COVID-19 microbes in a public display of selfishness and ignorance.

Great. America is all about freedom. Being dense is a God-given right.

There are many important issues facing the world today, and yet a majority of the supermajority of West Virginia delegates passed a resolution providing themselves COVID-19 seating.

I’ve heard people say, “There ain’t no law against stupid.” Maybe that’s true, but our always innovative West Virginia House just passed a resolution legalizing it. Keep in mind, that same body also is considering a slew of laws aimed at reshaping how your children get educated.

Bills being consider by the Legislature, by my understanding, would legalize virtual charter schools for every county; pay families thousands of dollars per child to take their kids out of public school and either send them to private school or home-school; and open 10 physical charter schools across the state.

There’s also been some talk of offsetting tax cuts by slashing funding to state colleges and getting rid of the Promise Scholarship.

Many of these policies are defended by the argument that they offer educational choice to families. And I might buy that, except that these bills are supported by the same group of folks who, remember, voted for their very own COVID-19 seating.

Why should I trust the same body that voted for their own willingness to contract and spread COVID-19 to make the best decisions regarding my children’s education?

I think some members of the Legislature are less interested in your child’s well-being and more interested in censoring their education. A sure sign of totalitarianism is fear of education. Totalitarian governments want to control what the public learns, and the Legislature is having a more-and-more-difficult time controlling what is taught, and permitted, in public schools.

“If I’m ever president, I’m going to ban school,” is something every school child has probably said. The West Virginia Legislature is sure trying to live up to that promise.

Obviously, they don’t want to totally ban school, they just want to make our public schools as unappealing as possible.

Why would they want that? I think one reason is because those meddlesome public school teachers and personnel embarrassed the Republican House, Senate and governor by striking and forcing the Legislature to increase their pay and improve teaching conditions. There are members of the Legislature, I would bet, who are so humiliated by what the teachers did to them that they are willing to trash the school system to exact revenge.

Because they cannot dictate what is taught in public schools, members of our Legislature are seeking every available avenue to encourage parents to withdraw their children from public school and educate them in the narrowest bubble possible.

We have legislators who fear non-Christian religions, and whom, I suspect, fear any form of Christianity that is different from their own narrow brand. They fear any version of U.S. history that does not adhere to the American construct they believe in. They fear that their children might be forced to associate with students who look different, love different, use different pronouns and will eventually vote different. We have legislators who live so deeply in the pockets of industry that they cannot allow any mention of new scientific theories.

My wife has home-schooled our kids for nearly 20 years now, and I would not turn down thousands of dollars a year per kid. I’m not against home-school or private school or freedom of educational choice. I’m just suspicious of people who vote for their own COVID-19 seating dictating educational policy.

Public schools receive funding based on the number of students they serve. If the Legislature can entice enough families to pull their children out of public school, then public schools won’t have enough funds to function. If the state stops funding public colleges, institutions such as West Virginia University and Marshall will take a financial hit. If the state stops funding the Promise Scholarship, many West Virginia kids won’t be able to afford college and, thus, attendance at colleges will plummet. Public education in West Virginia, from kindergarten to grad school, will be badly damaged.

It sure seems like the folks in their COVID-19 seats are doing everything they can to hurt our public schools and make ignorance the standard in the Mountain State.

Bil Lepp, of South Charleston,

is a professional storyteller

and a Gazette-Mail

contributing columnist.