Erin Pein sees it all as a school nurse: Kids throwing masks around, chewing on them, dropping them on the floor and then putting them back on. She knows that kids aren’t going to take the steps to keep the mask clean and germ free. She’s also seen her own son vigorously exercising, running a mile and a half with a damp sweaty mask on, sneaking gulps of air by pulling the mask down every now and again when no one is looking.

According to a recent article on nj1015.com, she’s had it up to here with people denying that the recent epidemic of strep throat in school children can be tied to the bacteria laden cloth they are forced to keep over their noses and mouths every day. So she spoke out. According to the article, she said "you have to stand up when you see something wrong and that's the point here.”

And that’s not easy to do in an environment where people, especially government employees, are expected to fall in line. As a traveling nurse in the Stafford school district, Pein has seen myriad ailments such as anxiety, rashes, headaches and stomach aches, all due to the wearing of the mask. In school. Indoors. All day. As a nurse, she can easily connect the dots. But the powers that be in the Stafford school district would hear none of it. When she failed to make any progress by warning her supervisor about the dangers of the mask, she decided to come to school maskless herself. She’s been suspended.

There’s a meeting of the school board on Thursday at which her employment will be discussed. There needs to be pressure placed upon the school board to give Erin her job back. You hire a school nurse to make medical decisions for the benefit of a child’s health. As a nurse, Erin Pein committed to do just that.

Asking her to enforce a rule that because of her medical knowledge she KNOWS is harmful is asking the impossible. Erin Pein is a hero. She knew that others have been punished for going against the accepted narrative, like the New Hampshire track coach fired for not enforcing mask rules during competitions. Yet she spoke out anyway. She’s a hero because the health of the kids that she is charged with protecting is at risk and she knows it. And she’s a hero because that responsibility is more important to her than a paycheck. How many people can you say that about?

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco. Any opinions expressed are Judi's own.

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