A new TikTok video was posted from a liberal professor and priest in Ohio. In the video, Revered Rachel Kessler is crying while she explains why she is frustrated with her child’s school. The school is refusing to impose a mask mandate.
Reverend Kessler is a professor at Kenyon College in Gambion, Ohio, where she graduated in 2004 after majoring in English and Philosophy. She also earned a Master’s of Divinity from Wycliffe College, University of Toronto, in 2011. She was ordained a deacon and a priest in the Anglican Church of Canada in 2012. And before seminary, Kessler had earned a Ph.D. from the Centre for Medieval Studies in the University of Toronto, specializing in Old English and Anglo-Latin literature.
Kessler is a self-proclaimed “exvangelical,” which means she is a former evangelical theologically. She has put together a guide for “LGBTQ+ affirming churches” on her website where she describes herself as an Episcopal priest. The professor/priest has approximately 11,000 followers on her TikTok page, which is entitled “nerdypreist.” It was on that page where she went on a rampage about the lack of mask mandates at her child’s school. Kessler writes on her website about being the mother of a female toddler.
In Kessler’s words on the video, “I need to go home. Instead, I’m sitting at my desk crying because we just got word from our superintendent that masks will not be required in our school district this year because the school has to respect the choice of parents that don’t want to have their kids in a mask.”
She gets even more emotional saying, “And that’s just the most bull***t reasoning, and I’m so over it. Because there is no such thing as a personal choice in a pandemic. Because I have no choice now to send my child to school in a way that will be safe for them. Because my child’s mask will do a great job of protecting the other kids around her. But I have no choice not to have my kid coughed on by her classmates.”
Rachel finally declared how tired she was of the “I’ll do what works for me, you do what works for you” take on a public health crisis. She believes that we as a culture are not going to get out of this if we can’t start collectively thinking about how the actions we take on impact the people that are around us.
There has been a spike in infections from the COVID-19 Delta variant and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its return-to-school guidance to recommend universal masking for students and staff, regardless of vaccination status.
Republican Governors across the nation, like Oklahoma’s Kevin Stitt and Florida’s Ron DeSantis, have barred schools from mandating that school children wear masks. And some states, like Ohio, opted not to reinstate mask mandates, but leave the decision to local school districts. Kentucky was a state that mandated masks indoors in preschool and K-12 classrooms, as well as all child care settings. The officials in Kentucky claim that the virus is “hitting kids in a way that we haven’t seen before.” But health officials say that children who are infected experience mild symptoms and rarely require hospitalization.
Because there are schools without mask mandates, it has prompted parents, teachers, and administrators to lose some touch with sanity. One school board member in Oklahoma said that maskless students would “commit murder.”
“It’s just not okay for kids to commit murder by coming to school without a mask,” said Norman Public Schools board member Linda Sexton. “[They] will cause a death of another child because they come to school without a mask.”