Eighth-grade Harding Middle School Social Studies teacher Andrew Rasmussen’s 4-year-old child may not have meltdowns, but Rasmussen showed Tuesday night at the Ankeny School Board meeting he’s capable of losing his cool now and then.
Within 20 seconds of starting his prepared remarks, Rasmussen showed he was triggered. After announcing he teaches at Des Moines Public Schools, he said:
“Which is just fine because it’s a great school district,” in an odd, stern tone.
He then whined about people interrupting when his remarks were clearly intended to incite a reaction from those who hold the opposite view from Rasmussen’s totalitarian beliefs that little kids should be forced to wear a mask regardless of what the child or the child’s parents want.
“My students in middle school act better than this,” he passively-aggressively said.
He then discussed the importance of making little kids wear a mask in school.
“As a civics teacher, I feel like some folks here need a refresher on the concept of liberty,” he said. “Freedom or liberty is an important value to all Americans. But the idea does not mean unlimited freedom to do whatever you want. We live in a community where every individual’s freedom comes into contact with the other members of that community. And when that happens, freedoms meet limits. As the saying goes, your freedom ends where my freedom, or my child’s health and safety, begins.”
Rasmussen continued his condescending tone.
“A grown-up understanding of freedom shows an understanding of these limits,” he said. “Asking people to do the bare minimum to protect the health and safety of our kids and community is not oppressive. It’s the public good. Our public schools are here to promote that public good.”
Rasmussen then said he has experience dealing with “an irrational person who makes stuff up and yells at me when they don’t get what they want.”
“It’s my 4-year-old,” he said. “And I don’t give a damn because I know what’s best for him. And guess what? That 4-year-old has never had a meltdown over having to put on his Paw Patrol mask.”
Rasmussen had the audacity to finish his speech by urging the board to “ignore the noise of a few bullies.”
Well, let’s work our way backward. Rasmussen used his speech to call out members of the opposing side with insults. That is a bully.
While I could also say his attempt at displaying some sort of macho, toxic masculinity failed to come across as strong. Instead, it was just a scared man demanding everyone else’s children live in the same fear he lives in.
But let’s explore the heart of his speech. There are two parts worth focusing on…
First, he says that an individual’s freedom ends when it conflicts with the health and safety of another. This is a good line — and perhaps the pro-life movement should adopt it. It would be interesting to know if Rasmussen holds this same principle when it comes to the debate on whether a pregnant mother should have the ability to have her baby aborted. I know that Rasmussen is a social studies teacher and not a biology teacher, but as a father, surely he realizes each of his children was a unique person distinct from their mother — even during pregnancy.
Second, and you might have missed it due to his Howard Dean impersonation, but did you notice how he said “I don’t give a damn because I know what’s best for him” in reference to his son.
So, if Rasmussen knows what is best for his son, does this mean that I know best for my son? And you know best for your son? And the parents who do not want their sons (or daughters) to wear a mask during school also know best?
Nobody was stopping Rasmussen from having his son wear a mask. Nobody. But Rasmussen is not advocating for the fact that parents know best. He spent his three minutes advocating for an entirely different position.
Government knows best.
The sad part? He probably doesn’t even realize the holes in his own argument.