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How the school system is messed up

Everybody is a Genius. But If You Judge a Fish by Its Ability to Climb a Tree, It Will Live Its Whole Life Believing that It is Stupid — Albert Einstein

Education is the key but is school delivering that for everyone? The farther you go with school, the more esteemed you are, the more successful you seem and the more money you are supposed to make right? The issue I have with the school is that the system does not work for some people unless you are willing to change who you are to fit in. It works for a select few and everyone just gets by with no idea of how the classroom is destroying them and this starts from a young age. Just keep reading you will understand what I am saying.

*If you’re a teacher you probably will be offended, but my issue is with the system. I had teachers growing up that were just awesome people but at the end of the day they had to listen because they could not afford to be fired.

*Also my wife reads stuff like this and has an opposite perspective and that is ok because I don’t need or expect the world to agree with me. School was awesome to her and that’s fantastic. But for all the kids that school broke down and they just get tossed to the side feeling like dummies… this is for you!

1. Put Your Hand Up and Tell Me The Right Answer

School demands that you raise your hand if you have the right answer. It often implies that there is only one correct answer. When you think of something good and express yourself, you get shot down for being wrong. I remember the feeling of approaching an answer from a different perspective and being shot down. Why try again? Why put any effort in? Then when you speak up and say that you don’t like something, you get shamed in front of the class. Shame is how bad systems make sure you get back in line.

2. Your Teacher Knows It All

You don’t realize this until you get old and your friends start becoming teachers. You realize that some people that become teachers are not the know-it-alls you thought teachers were growing up. Does this open up the door for brainwashing of false ideas? Of course it does. If you’re an idiot all your life and you become a teacher, what are you going to teach the future adults of the world? Teachers deserve respect, but every word they say should not be taken as Gospel.

3. We Will Prepare You For a Job

When you go to school, the goal is that you follow the rules and then when you are done and have some pieces of paper to your name, you will be rewarded with a job that pays you well and offers some impressive benefits. This made complete sense during the industrial revolution when most people worked in factories.

Most jobs require you to use your brain now and not just follow rules. The world does not need zombies; it needs people who can think on the fly and following rules and meeting syllabus expectations does not teach you to think for yourself.

The school system does a great job of getting people ready for more school. The best choice you can make after high school is college, the best choice after college is to get your masters because that is what you are most prepared to do. The schools are not preparing students to go out and deal with real life.

4. No Networking Skills

What is more important in life: perfect grades or having a massive network? Most people realize quickly after graduating that you should spend much more time networking than trying to just have good grades.

School provides plenty of opportunities to teach about networking, but there is no such thing in most schools. It is as simple as introducing a student that is struggling with math, to your other friend that loves math. You are now a connector and a person people turn to when they need to be hooked up. A valuable skill indeed!

5. Bully The Kids The System Doesn’t Like

The only reason I was never booted out of the system is that I have two parents that cared and they fought like hell for me. When I was young, school was hard. I hated that teachers thought they could just say anything about me and I had to take it because they were the teacher. Some of the most discouraging words I can remember have come from teachers.

Don’t hang around “Ian Warner” he will make you a bad apple. A teacher said that in front of my whole class. I was not bad, but I just did not conform. There is a huge difference. From one comment, I lost all my friends in one day. When you’re nine, that is brutal. The only thing that matters when you’re nine is your friends.

6. Life Skills Don’t Matter

You better know Y=Mx+b but don’t worry about mortgages, loans, stocks, personal savings, cooking, laundry or any other basic skill. Here is the kicker, though; some people would say those things should be taught at home, well who taught your parents that stuff? You see how the system will get you if you don’t have the ability to think for yourself and go get the knowledge you need?

After elementary school, it’s like things just get hard for the sake of making school harder but not actually for being able to provide value to your life. I remember doing so many glossary quizzes in history class growing up. What is that doing for me now exactly?

7. Time Management is Non-Existent

There should be entire classes on time management. Isn’t time more valuable than money? Schools try and say they prepare you to make money but never teach you to manage your time?

I learned how to manage my time by living in another city than the school I went to. I had to wake up at leave by 6:30 AM to get there on time. After school, I took the train to the other side of the city for track practice. I learned how to manage my time outside of school by accident.

8. It Does Not Matter What You Eat

Here is the tough one. Most teachers themselves have no idea what to eat, so I already know they couldn’t do this even if they tried but regardless it makes no sense. You want to prepare me for life, but eating is not a part of life? Is eating not a part of success? I learned about eating well by running track, not from school.

9. Aim for Perfect

Everyone knows that kid that grew up with straight A’s and had everything lined up perfect through life. They get to college and get a B. They crumble inside, get depressed and party hard. This is due to never learning to deal with failure.

Failure is a part of life, and school should challenge you to fail as often as possible. It does the opposite; it makes you feel like you have to be perfect to be successful even though no one is perfect.

10. No Expression of Self

I am not talking about the way you dress or anything like that. I am talking about actually being able to articulate your thoughts with no fear. To be able to be confident in whom you are and not feel like you have to be what the system wants you to be.

11. No Self-Control

There should be entire classes on self-control. I mean your hormones are RAGING in high school, but I’m in history learning about all the powerful white dudes in this textbook instead? Teach me about myself. How can an individual master knowledge when they can’t be a master of self?

I specifically point to history because when you open texts books and see that no one ever looks like you. That’s an immediate turn-off, so you focus on other things. Oh except February where you get to be the expert because of the color of your skin you better know all the answers; regardless of the fact that you grew up with the same textbooks as the rest of your class.

12. Think Smaller Please

An A student says they want to be a doctor and everyone encourages them. Another student Ds and wants to be practically anything, and they are discouraged regularly.

Most teachers in my life tried to tell me that I should not focus on sports at all. Why? Why would a teacher want to take something I excel at and tell me to let go of it? I learned more about life being an athlete than I did in the classroom. If I were to fail at my athletic dreams, I would get a lesson out of it.

A teacher should only be concerned with helping students to think bigger. Why not? It makes no sense why teachers want kids to aim for less. If I had listened to my teachers I would not be an author, have a college education, and my self-confidence would be nonexistent. Sadly, I know people still trying to shake the system off of them to this after years of not being in school.

13. A Teachers Job is to Teach?

Teachers should just be called guides because that is what they should do. Kids are smart, and they will tell you exactly what they want to learn. Let the kids set the pace of the classroom. If a kids wants to learn about animals let them go learn about them. If a kid is not feeling math but they want to dance let them dance. We are born naturally wanting to learn, it is other people that ruin this.

This is terrifying to people though because there is no control and remember school is about getting you in line and doing what you are told. There is a reason that you can’t go anywhere in primary school without getting in a line first.

14. Be Well Rounded

You never need to be well rounded. Do you go to a nutritionist and ask them to do your taxes? You don’t need A’s in everything; you just need to focus on the things that you are excelling at. Doing this would make school much more bearable for students because it is ok to have weaknesses.

15. No Brainstorming.

Classes should be roundtable discussions. Let everyone throw ideas out there and do research to support what they think. One thing I learned being in sales is that you don’t need to be right, you need to be able to back your answer up and be CONFIDENT.

Again, I grew up having some teachers that I will always remember in a good way, but it was because of who they are as people. Parents send their kids to school thinking school is getting them ready for life. It is not always doing this! The school is getting kids ready to go work at FORD on the assembly line that is now operated by machines.

To produce adults, that can think, the system is going to have to change.

16. Forget About Your Strengths

In middle school my principal told my parents

“Ian has the ability to lead a pack to the edge of a cliff, step to the side and watch them as they run off.”

That is a direct quote. Every time I go back to Toronto my dad brings that up and we just laugh.

Here is the issue: Never once in the MANY conversations I had with this principal did he say, “Ian, you have the ability to lead your peers to do some great things.”

If you can lead people to do bad, then you can lead people to do good, but the school did not care about my strengths. They just focused on everything bad about me.

I see this in people all of the time. People whom barely graduate high school and they have something so special in them that years and years of school totally missed.

17. Arts Are Not As Important as Math and English

The only classes where you can think and be creative are labeled as not important? You have to do English every day because that matters, but the fact that you can move your body means nothing to society? Right, because we don’t have an obesity problem.

What the hell do you do when you’re one of the kids that are musically gifted, or you have the ability to draw? Welp, you’re dumb and you need to do better in math and English because society demands it! You can’t make money doing anything else anyway.

18. The System Worked For Them So It Better Work For You

To be a teacher you have to subject yourself to the system at some point to be one. You must graduate, and go off to University and teachers college and get good grades and then do what the school board tells you to do. That is how the system is protected.

I know some people will dislike the words in this article and that is ok if you do because I did not write this for you.

I wrote this for that kid sitting in the back of class wondering why he cant be him or herself.

I wrote this for the recent college graduate that is working a job and just hating life everyday.

I wrote this for the kids constantly told to be less and aim lower instead of the opposite.

You have to keep your eyes open and get back to being who you unapologetically. How are you going to apologize to a system that was not made for you for being you?

I had to fight for my ability to write. I was told for years that I could not and should not. I got to college and they would not even let me study Journalism because of my English scores. Yet here I am, this is our world today! You don’t need permission from anyone, you just have to do it.

‘A Heart-Wrenching Thing’: Hospital Bans on Visits Devastate Families

To curb the risk of spreading the coronavirus, hospitals nationwide are banning visits from family and friends.

Peter John Dario of Edison, N.J., never got to say goodbye to his father, Peter Dario, who died of complications from Covid-19 in the hospital.
Peter John Dario of Edison, N.J., never got to say goodbye to his father, Peter Dario, who died of complications from Covid-19 in the hospital.Credit…Bryan Anselm for The New York Times

By Katie Hafner

The last time Peter John Dario saw his father alive was on March 14, at the entrance to a hospital in Edison, N.J. An employee took him away in a wheelchair, telling Mr. Dario and his mother gently but unequivocally that they could not go in the building.

In a fog of worry and confusion, as he watched his father’s diminished silhouette disappear through the door, Mr. Dario forgot to say goodbye.

Five days later, his father, Peter Dario, died of respiratory failure from an infection caused by the coronavirus. He was 59. None of the members of his large family — several of them now also sick with Covid-19 — were at his side.

Of all the ways the coronavirus pandemic has undermined the conventions of normal life, perhaps none is as cruel as the separation of seriously ill patients and their loved ones, now mandated at hospitals around the world.

Hospitals in all 50 states and dozens of countries are barring visitors. Lobbies are bare, visitor parking lots empty, flower deliveries stopped. The number of accessible entry points has been reduced, and security guards and staff are posted at those that remain to turn away patients’ relatives and friends.

“It’s a heart-wrenching thing to do,” said Dr. Laura Forese, executive vice president and chief operating officer of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital in New York. “But it’s for everyone’s protection.”

At most hospitals, exceptions are being made only for patients receiving end of life care, hospitalized children and pregnant women in labor.

Last week, after New York-Presbyterian discovered that multiple pregnant and postpartum patients in its labor and delivery unit had Covid-19 — with minimal or no symptoms — it barred all visitors, including partners. Mt. Sinai Hospital System followed suit. But on Saturday night, following an outcry from expectant parents, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed an executive order requiring all medical facilities licensed by New York State to allow one support person for patients who are in labor.

“This disease has demonstrated to us just how vulnerable the greater community can be when we have a virus circulating that no one has any immunity to,” said Nancy Foster, a vice president of the American Hospital Association. “And that extraordinary reality has forced us to take extraordinary measures.”

See more updatesUpdated 10m agoMore live coverage: GlobalMarketsNew York

While the infection control rationale is clear and sound, the consequences — for patients, their loved ones and the hospital personnel who must enforce the rules — are profound.

Clinicians and hospital staff said keeping families away had been among the darkest experience of their professional lives. The restrictions run contrary to a hospital’s desire to keep patients and families together, not only for the salutary effect of something as simple as a hand held, or a chair pulled close to a bed, but because having a relative present can ease the workload of a medical team. It can also provide crucial information that a confused patient may not be able to offer.

Hospitals are receiving frequent requests for leniency, especially for patients in intensive care units.

“This isn’t easy but we have to deny the vast majority of them,” said Dr. Shereef Elnahal, president and chief executive of University Hospital in Newark, N.J., which is, like other hospitals, managing the requests on a case-by-case basis.

The restrictions raise distressing questions, especially when it comes to end-of-life visits. How close to the end of life must a patient be to merit a visitor? Is near death the right time? Why not earlier, when a patient is healthier, and of sound mind?

As is happening in Italy and elsewhere around the world, people like Peter Dario are dying alone, despite hospital exceptions for end-of-life visitors.

Peter John Dario holds a photograph of his mother, Luzviminda Dario, who’s recovering from Covid-19, and his father, Peter Dario, who died of Covid-19.
Peter John Dario holds a photograph of his mother, Luzviminda Dario, who’s recovering from Covid-19, and his father, Peter Dario, who died of Covid-19.Credit…Bryan Anselm for The New York Times

Peter Dario, who had diabetes and was on dialysis, started to look sick at the beginning of March, said his daughter Marsha Dario, 32, a nurse. His 86-year-old mother-in-law, who also lives in the household, was already sick with Covid-like symptoms.

When Marsha Dario picked her father up from dialysis on March 7, he was weak, dizzy and vomiting. She told him he needed to go to the hospital. But he refused.

His condition worsened. Struggling to breathe a few days later, he finally agreed to go to the hospital — but only if his wife, Luzviminda Dario, 63, came too. Although his wife was sick by then as well, she went. “They were inseparable,” said Peter John Dario, his son, who is 23.

The day after he was admitted to John F. Kennedy Medical Center, Peter Dario lay unconscious, intubated and on a ventilator. Three days later, on the night of March 19, the hospital called the family to say his fever had spiked and he was unstable.Finally, a nurse said one family member would be allowed in. The previous day, Luzviminda and Marsha Dario had received positive test results for the coronavirus and were in quarantine at home, so Peter John Dario rushed to the hospital. While he was being screened at the entrance for the symptoms of coronavirus infection, his father died.

Just as difficult is the prohibition of visits with patients who have other grave illnesses or are undergoing risky surgery.

This month, Brittany Sanchez, 32, was at home in Las Vegas getting her two small children ready for bed when she had a seizure and collapsed.

She was taken by ambulance to Valley Hospital Medical Center in Las Vegas. A scan revealed a brain tumor so aggressive that Ms. Sanchez needed immediate surgery.

Her mother, Heather Last, stayed at the hospital with her for two days, then went home to pick up a few things and feed the pets, only to get a call from Ms. Sanchez telling her that the visiting rules had changed and that she could not return.

Brittany Sanchez, center, who had emergency surgery for a brain tumor with no family allowed into the hospital, with her parents Heather and Don Last. 
Brittany Sanchez, center, who had emergency surgery for a brain tumor with no family allowed into the hospital, with her parents Heather and Don Last. Credit…Anastasiia Sapon for The New York Times

The next morning, her parents went to the hospital anyway. A security guard refused to let them enter the building.

“Heather said they’d have to call the police on her to keep her from going in,” her father, Don Last, said. Eventually both were allowed in.

A few days later, Ms. Sanchez was flown on a medevac jet to the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center for a major neurosurgical procedure. U.C.S.F., too, was in lockdown and Ms. Sanchez’s parents were not allowed in the hospital.

The surgery would be complex and dangerous. “There was a reasonable chance she was going to have a problem,” said Dr. Mitchel Berger, the neurosurgeon who performed the procedure. Dr. Berger tried and failed to persuade his hospital to make an exception to the no-visitor rule.

Ms. Sanchez’s father was beside himself. The night before the surgery, he sent Dr. Berger a text.

“You will have my daughter Brittany’s life in your hands tomorrow,” he wrote. “I expect you to treat her as if she were your own daughter. I will never forgive myself that I was not able to hold her hand through this. Bring her back home to me whole.”

The surgery lasted nearly seven hours. As soon as he was finished, Dr. Berger went to find the Lasts, who were waiting outside the hospital. From six feet away, he told them the surgery had gone well, and apologized again for being unable to allow them in.

“They said they knew it wasn’t my fault, but that I just couldn’t imagine what it would be like to be in that situation,” he said. “And they’re right. I couldn’t imagine it.”

Some hospitals are buying iPads to give to patients for virtual visits. Others are helping patients speak with their family and friends over FaceTime.

Sandi Hutchinson being helped into a car by her son, Thomas, and her husband, Dell, at Summit Medical Center in Oakland, Calif. Her family couldn’t visit at the end of a month-long hospital stay.
Sandi Hutchinson being helped into a car by her son, Thomas, and her husband, Dell, at Summit Medical Center in Oakland, Calif. Her family couldn’t visit at the end of a month-long hospital stay.Credit…Preston Gannaway for The New York Times

Dell Hutchinson, who lives in Oakland, Calif., would gladly have accepted a virtual visit with his wife, but she was too sick to use her cellphone. Mr. Hutchinson’s wife, Sandi Hutchinson, was hospitalized on Feb. 19 with a subarachnoid hemorrhage, bleeding around her brain. On March 15, the hospital stopped allowing visitors.

This left Mr. Hutchinson with one option: calling her room through the main switchboard. But she also could not operate the bedside telephone, Mr. Hutchinson said, which meant he had to hope there was a doctor, nurse or other staff member in the room to pick up when he called.

When Mr. Hutchinson did manage to speak to his wife, he wasn’t able to glean much. Her voice was monotonic. “Without being able to read her body language, how could I know how she was really doing?” he asked. “I couldn’t.”

Just as the Dario family was absorbing the news of Peter Dario’s death, tragedy swept through the household again. On Monday, Cresenciano Victolero, Luzviminda Dario’s 86-year-old father, weak and short of breath, was rushed to the same hospital where his son-in-law had died. No one was allowed to visit.

On Wednesday, a nurse called to say they were unable to maintain his blood pressure. A granddaughter headed to the hospital. Mr. Victolero died while she was en route.

“But they held pronouncing him until she got there,” Marsha Dario said. “The nurse cried with her.”

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Tesla made good on Elon Musk’s threats and sued a California county over the closure of its factory

  • Tesla has filed a lawsuit against Alameda County in California, where the company’s Fremont factory is based.
  • The factory has been shut since March 23 after Alameda County ordered it to shut down as part of social distancing measures aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19.
  • In the lawsuit, Tesla alleges the shutdown ignores an earlier order from California’s governor that permits businesses in “16 crucial infrastructure industries”, including transportation, to continue work.
  • Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk, has threatened to move the automaker’s headquarters to Texas or Nevada as a result of the shutdown.
  • Visit Business insider’s homepage for more stories.

Tesla has filed a lawsuit against Alameda County in California, where Tesla’s Fremont factory is based.

The factory has been shut since March 23 after Alameda County ordered it to shut down as part of social distancing measures aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19.

In the lawsuit, Tesla alleged the shutdown ignores an earlier order from California’s governor Gavin Newsom that permits businesses in “16 crucial infrastructure industries”, including transportation, to continue work. It describes the decision as both unconstitutional and “inexplicable” and says there is “no rational basis” for the facility’s closure.

The firm is hoping for an injunction that would render the shutdown order invalid.

Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk, has threatened to move the automaker’s headquarters to Texas or Nevada as a result of the shutdown.

In an angry tweet Saturday, since deleted, he wrote: “Frankly, this is the final straw. Tesla will now move its HQ and future programs to Texas/Nevada immediately. If we even retain Fremont manufacturing activity at all, it will be dependen[t] on how Tesla is treated in the future. Tesla is the last carmaker left in CA.”

For its part, Alameda County says it has been engaged in what it calls a “collaborative, good-faith effort to develop and implement a safety plan that allows for reopening” of the Fremont factory.

Adding fuel to the flames, California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez tweeted “F— Elon Musk” on Saturday night, hours after Musk’s threat to decamp for Texas or Nevada.

In a blog post, Tesla said it had handed over detailed information to county officials about how it might get employees back to work safely, to no avail.

The firm wrote: “We will continue to put people back to work in a safe and responsible manner.

“However, the County’s position left us no choice but to take legal action to ensure that Tesla and its employees can get back to work. We filed a lawsuit on May 9 asking the court to invalidate the County Orders, to the extent the County claims they prevent Tesla from resuming operations.

Do you have a personal experience with the coronavirus you’d like to share? Or a tip on how your town or community is handling the pandemic? Please email covidtips@businessinsider.com and tell us your story.

Get the latest coronavirus business & economic impact analysis from Business Insider Intelligence on how COVID-19 is affecting industries.

Are ‘Stay At Home’ Orders Constitutional?

Are ‘Stay At Home’ Orders Constitutional?

Evan Gerstmann Senior Contributor Education I am a professor and publish on constitutional and educational issues.

EDITORS’ PICK|159,102 views|Mar 25, 2020,03:34pm EDT

As of today, over half the people in this country, across 17 states, are subject to “stay at home” orders. They vary considerably in terms of breadth and level of enforcement but, as a whole, they represent a breathtaking set of limitations on how Americans live their lives. Various state and local governments will likely order more, and perhaps even stricter, restrictions. But are such orders constitutional? The Constitution protects the right to associate, assemble, worship and travel. Does that mean there are limits on what sort of restrictions the government can place on people’s freedom of movement?

The answer is complicated and it is different for state and local governments than it is for the federal government. This piece will only address the state and local laws because there is no federal stay at home order yet. That could change, but for now, restrictions on leaving home, congregating in groups, and so forth, are happening on the state and local level.

There are plenty of laws on the books that allow for these orders. But even emergency and health-protective laws have to be constitutional. The constitution protects our liberty in good times and bad and it explicitly provides for only very limited emergency power. It only allows the suspension of the ordinary judicial process in the event of war, invasion, or rebellion. Furthermore, this authority is granted to Congress and not to the president (even if he calls himself a “wartime president”) or to state and local governments. So even during this crisis, the states must obey the ordinary constitutional restrictions on their powers.Today In: Education

The Supreme Court has had little to say about state power to override people’s liberty during epidemics. The most helpful case is from back in 1905 during the smallpox epidemic, Jacobson v. Massachusetts. In that case, a pastor argued that a mandatory smallpox vaccination violated his constitutional rights. The Supreme Court sided with Massachusetts but framed its decision carefully. 

The Court acknowledged that “the liberty secured by the Fourteenth Amendment . . . consists, in part, in the right of a person ‘to live and work where he will.’” But it added: “in every well-ordered society . . . the rights of the individual in respect of his liberty may at times, under the pressure of great dangers, be subjected to such restraint, to be enforced by reasonable regulations, as the safety of the general public may demand.”

Even in our current situation though, the power of the government is limited. The Court warned that some restrictions may be so “arbitrary and oppressive in particular cases as to justify the interference of the courts to prevent wrong and oppression.” The Court added: “if a statute purporting to have been enacted to protect the public health, the public morals, or the public safety has no real or substantial relation to those objects, or is, beyond all question, a plain, palpable invasion of rights secured by the fundamental law, it is the duty of the courts to so adjudge, and thereby give effect to the Constitution.”

How would the courts decide what restrictions cross that line? They would most likely apply the “strict scrutiny” test, which requires that a law be “narrowly tailored to further a compelling government interest.” The government can override even such basic rights as freedom of speech, assembly, and religion if it meets the demands of strict scrutiny.

Preventing the spread of a pandemic is obviously a compelling government interest. Therefore challenges to any restrictions would turn on whether they are narrowly tailored to do that. One reason they may not be narrowly tailored is if they are egregiously excessive. But the courts will likely grant the government a lot of latitude on that question. In the Jacobson case, the pastor who didn’t want the vaccination argued that there was a difference of opinion about the effectiveness and risks of vaccinations. The Supreme Court responded: “The fact that the belief is not universal is not controlling, for there is scarcely any belief that is accepted by everyone. The possibility that the belief may be wrong, and that science may yet show it to be wrong, is not conclusive, for the legislature has the right to pass laws which, according to the common belief of the people, are adapted to prevent the spread of contagious diseases.”

So what would cross the line? Certainly anything racially discriminatory. President Trump likes to call COVID-19 the “China Virus.” If any part of the government tried to impose special rules on Asian Americans those rules would be unconstitutional. In 1900, the city of San Francisco “required persons of Chinese ancestry to undergo inoculation against the bubonic plague by a [potentially dangerous] serum known as ‘Haffkine Prophylactic’ and prohibited uninoculated Chinese residents from traveling outside the city.” A federal court stopped the city from enforcing the order, holding the city failed to produce evidence that the Chinese were more likely to carry or spread the plague than anyone else.

Restrictions that smack of political favoritism might fail strict scrutiny as well. So would hastily drafted laws that, perhaps unintentionally, made distinctions between what sorts of activities are allowed that could not be justified on public health grounds. Also, laws that put people’s lives or health in danger by over-restricting access to food, medicine, and medical treatment, or perhaps even exercise for some people would probably be unconstitutional. So might restrictions that, for reasons of political inertia, remained in place after they could no longer be reasonably justified.

Finally, it is worth noting that there are two ways to challenge the constitutionality of a law. Someone could challenge a law “on its face,” meaning they want the court to strike down the law in its entirety. Another way is to challenge a law “as applied” to a particular person. For example, a cardiac patient might challenge a restriction that is preventing him or her from going outside for needed exercise. 

For now, it seems more likely that a court would uphold an “as applied” challenge where a restriction was enforced so rigidly that it created a harmful outcome in a particular case. While the government must act forcefully to protect public health, it would be best if restrictions were enforced flexibly. For example, while the mayor of Los Angeles has said of his “safer at home” order: “This is not a request—this is an order,” his officials have also said that they would take a “light touch” to enforcement.

In conclusion, strong government action, with due respect for the government’s constitutional limitations and some flexibility in enforcement, would seem to be the best approach.

Stay-at-Home Orders and Travel Bans Spur Constitutional Fights

KEVIN KOENINGERFacebookTwitterEmail

The John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge spans the Ohio River and connects Cincinnati, Ohio, to Covington, Ky. (Photo via MamaGeek /Wikipedia Commons)

(CN) — Last week, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear signed an executive order that prohibits Kentuckians from crossing state lines, save for a limited number of exceptions, including employment, trips for necessary supplies or to seek medical care.

While the Democrat and neighboring Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, a Republican, have been lauded by political allies and opponents alike for their decisive action in response to the Covid-19 outbreak, the interstate travel ban marked a decisive shift in tactics.

More than the reiteration of guidelines for social distancing or closure of nonessential businesses, Beshear’s executive order subjects violators to possible criminal prosecution, and also requires residents currently located in another state to submit to a 14-day quarantine upon their return to the Bluegrass State.

Civil litigation followed on the heels of Beshear’s order. Kentucky resident Allison S. Alessandro – located immediately across the Ohio River from Cincinnati in Campbell County, Kentucky — sued the governor and Secretary of State Daniel Cameron three days later.

Alessandro argues the order violates her 14th Amendment rights and has prevented her from traveling to Ohio to visit friends and family, and has also deprived her of the use of Hamilton County, Ohio’s public parks.

Attorney Brian O’Connor, with the Cincinnati-based firm Santen & Hughes, denied a request to interview his client but gave his thoughts about the suit via email.

“I think our papers clearly show that the travel ban is unconstitutional,” O’Connor said, “and I’m confident the federal court will agree. Given the current state of affairs in our country, I sadly expect that we’re going to see a wave of constitutional cases like this across the country.”

The attorney continued, “Just this morning, I read a story in the Washington Post about police in New Jersey forcibly stopping an orthodox rabbi’s funeral and arresting people at the religious service.”

O’Connor said elected officials are continuing “to test the boundary between their authority and individual rights” during the coronavirus pandemic.

“And I feel strongly that constitutional lawyers like my partner Lou Sirkin and me have a duty to hold them accountable when they overstep,” he said.

O’Connor’s prediction of lawsuits stemming from travel bans seems well-founded, as Courthouse News has already reported on several similar cases across the country.

In Greensboro, North Carolina, a group of anti-abortion advocates who routinely stand and pray outside an abortion clinic filed a federal lawsuit against Mayor Nancy Vaughan and the Greensboro Police Department after several protesters were arrested and cited for violating a stay-at-home order.

Four Mocksville, North Carolina, residents claim the city continues to violate their First Amendment rights by refusing to allow them to congregate outside the clinic, even though the Greensboro order includes an exception for outdoor activities that comply with social distancing guidelines.

The skyline of Greensboro, N.C. (Photo via Beyonce245/Wikipedia Commons)

Courthouse News spoke with lead attorney Stephen Crampton of the Thomas More Society in Chicago, who said his firm is monitoring several situations regarding so-called prayer walks at abortion clinics across the country.

“One of the consistent factors,” he said, “in fact, uniform in every one we’ve looked at so far, is a recognition of outdoor activity and a right to do that.”

“There’s really not a travel ban in [the Greensboro] order, but they are reading one particular sentence … and saying that because our people happen to be from outside the county, they didn’t have a right to travel in to the clinic,” Crampton added.

The attorney called the interpretation a “bit of a stretch,” and said that travel bans and stay-at-home orders issued across the country represent “a great threat, given the circumstances.”

“The potential for overreach is very great here,” Crampton continued, saying the Greensboro city attorney told his clients and their volunteer group Love Life that the order was being interpreted as a ban on First Amendment activities.

According to Crampton, Greensboro claims its stay-at-home order authorized the city to suspend First Amendment activities while the virus outbreak is still ongoing.

“He took it, in other words, as a total setting aside of the First Amendment,” Crampton said of the city attorney.

One of the plaintiffs in the Greensboro case, David Troyer, spoke with Courthouse News and said he feels the anti-abortion group is being unfairly targeted by the city.

“My two daughters were out,” Troyer said, “and they were threatened with arrest right along[side] other people on the same sidewalk who were completely ignored, and they were not even given the opportunity to explain … why they can be there.”

When asked about the city’s stay-at-home order, Troyer said he believes it’s an overreach, “especially in consideration that we do keep the social distancing, and also that we see a lot of people out there in the same area that get completely ignored.”

Professor Ken Katkin from Northern Kentucky University’s Chase School of Law spoke to Courthouse News about Beshear’s interstate travel ban and its constitutional ramifications.

Katkin emphasized that while the U.S. Constitution does protect the right of its citizens to travel from one state to another, the right is subject to limitation in support of a compelling governmental interest.

“Here,” the professor said, “Kentucky undoubtedly has a compelling interest in protecting its residents against becoming infected by the Covid-19 pandemic. And this compelling government interest clearly is advanced by enforcing public health measures that reduce interaction between people.”

But Katkin said the constitutional question is whether Beshear’s use of a blanket ban on interstate travel, while allowing some in-state travel, “is narrowly tailored to achieve this compelling government interest.”

Moving forward, Katkin said he believes the actions being taken by local, state and federal agencies will result in a slew of lawsuits, although not all of them will be based on constitutional violations.

“I think that 2021 will be the year of Covid-19 lawsuits in all kinds of courts,” he said. “Most of these lawsuits will be commercial lawsuits between private parties, not constitutional cases. There will be enormous numbers of disputes about whether purchasers of goods and services are entitled to refunds for goods and the like.”

The professor added that funds from stimulus and disaster relief bills passed by Congress could be used to resolve some of the legal disputes – “which means there will be litigation over who is entitled to this government money, and how much.”

When asked about Kentucky’s interstate travel ban, Crampton, the attorney in the Greensboro case, was hesitant to say the current situation warrants such severe measures.

“They do have the authority to initiate and impose a travel ban on their borders, but the circumstances must be extraordinary,” he said. “And it’s an open question whether they have those circumstances here or not.”

Beshear, who has given updates on Covid-19 cases in the Bluegrass State on a near daily basis, seems unconcerned by Alessandro’s suit.

“I haven’t read it, I’m not worried about it, and we will win it,” the governor said during a press conference last Friday.

Alessandro was denied a temporary restraining order late last week, and both sides are preparing to brief their cases in the coming weeks.