The private school Brophy College Preparatory (Brophy) announced Wednesday that it would mandate the experimental COVID-19 vaccine. Their take on the mandate mirrored President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate for federal employees and contractors – if an individual isn’t fully vaccinated, they must adhere to masking restrictions, social distancing measures, and frequent testing.
In a letter to parents, Brophy Principal Bob Ryan explained that there wouldn’t be a hybrid learning option for students. Therefore, students needed to adjust accordingly to create a safe learning environment. According to Ryan, Brophy students and faculty may choose to not be vaccinated; however, they would have to be tested regularly and be prohibited from overnight retreats and school travels outside of the metro area.
“Over the last six months, it has become increasingly clear that the most effective way to contain the spread of the virus is to have a vaccinated community,” wrote Ryan. “Therefore, effective September 13, every student, teacher, and staff member will need to have proof of vaccination on file with the school or get tested for COVID regularly. Additionally, effective Monday, August 9, and for the foreseeable future, any student who wishes to participate in overnight retreats or any school-related travel outside of the Phoenix metro area will be required to have proof of vaccine on file.”
Brophy will resume classes next Thursday.
Earlier this summer, Governor Doug Ducey signed the bill prohibiting K-12 mask and vaccine mandates into law. Both of Ducey’s sons are Brophy graduates.
It is unclear whether private schools like Brophy are exempt from the law. The COVID-19 vaccine is still under emergency use authorization (EUA) only from the FDA.
A state senator who also serves as treasurer for Secretary of State Katie Hobbs’ gubernatorial campaign remains under fire for a tweet he wrote Friday which many perceive as an insult of a foreign-born state lawmaker.
Sen. Martin Quezada (D-LD29) tweeted “This is what #WhiteNationalism looks like” with a finger pointing downward toward Rep. Quang Nguyen’s supportive retweet of Gov. Doug Ducey’s announced signing of legislation banning government-sponsored or funded Critical Race Theory instruction.
Among those who came to Nguyen’s defense was Rep. Justin Wilmeth (R-LD15) who called Nguyen “one of the most kind, funny and caring people in this country,” along with Rep. Shawnna Bolick (R-LD20) who reminded Quezada of their colleague’s history.
Nguyen (R-LD1) was born in Vietnam where several of his family members were killed by Communists. He fled to America as a child asylum applicant, later becoming a U.S. citizen and a successful businessman before his election to the Arizona House of Representatives in November 2020.
Known as a quiet and respectful lawmaker, Nguyen was vice-chair of the House Committee on Military Affairs & Public Safety. He was most animated during the session when talking about his daughter’s various experiences and achievements in the U.S. Navy.
But Nguyen garnered national headlines last month when he pushed back on a suggestion by Rep. Daniel Hernandez (D-LD2) that Communism is not as big of a threat to Americans as White Nationalism. After Hernandez finished, Nguyen spoke up and spoke out.
“So, let me tell you something about White Nationalism,” Nguyen said while looking over at Hernandez. “White Nationalism didn’t drown 250,000 Vietnamese in the South China sea. The Communists did. White Nationalism did not execute 86,000 South Vietnamese at the Fall of Saigon. Communists did. White Nationalism did not put me here. Communism did. So don’t take it lightly. Don’t mock me. Don’t mock what I go through in life.”
As of Saturday night, neither Hobbs nor Quezada had commented on the furor over the tweet.
Nguyen was the prime sponsor of HB2575 which mandates that hospitals offering in-person visitation must include clergy as approved visitors. If a hospital does not offer in-person visitation then hospital staff must facilitate virtual clergy visits. HB2575 cleared both chambers with bipartisan support and was signed by the governor in May.
Rep. Shawnna Bolick says a tweet she wrote Wednesday was not intended as a commentary on the Senate’s ongoing audit of Maricopa County’s election process. Instead, she was simply trying to draw attention to a double-standard by many state Democrats on the issue of public-private partnerships.
Bolick (R-LD20) is a strong supporter of Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (ESA) which thousands of Arizona families can utilize to provide school choice for students. As Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, she has championed SB1452 which seeks to expand ESA eligibility to thousands more students.
But Bolick says she has seen many Democrats who do not support giving families more choice in a child’s education if that choice involves a privately run school. Then on Wednesday morning, Bolick was reading comments about the Senate’s election audit when an article caught her attention.
That article reported on how Maricopa County does not have the administrative passwords necessary to access key voting equipment the auditors want to review. Those passwords appear to be in the control of Dominion Voting Systems, a private company which leases voting equipment to the county.
And that, Bolick says, prompted a bit of a snarky retort “comparing how the Left is okay with our democratic process being turned over to a private entity for elections, but they are not okay with kids going to, say, a private school.”
“I see so much hypocrisy in the world, so it’s fun sometimes to point out an issue that might not even be related to another issue,” Bolick said, adding she did not mean to suggest private companies should never be involved in elections. “Just a little poke on hypocrisy between different governance structures and ideas. Nothing more, nothing less.”
An amended version of SB1452 which came through Bolick’s committee is slated to be considered by the House on Thursday. If it passes the legislation will have to return to the Senate for a final vote.
Bolick also serves as Vice-Chair of the House Criminal Justice Reform Committee.
On Tuesday, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed legislation that will allow victims of human and sex trafficking to take civil action against their perpetrators and anyone else who contributes to their abuse.
Representative Shawnna Bolick introduced HB2116 which received unanimous legislative support. HB2116 stipulates that:
A person who engages in the trafficking of another person or a person who benefits from participating in a venture that traffics another person is liable to the person trafficked for damages that arise during the trafficking period.
Acquittal, no prosecution or criminal conviction, or conviction of a different offense or of a different type or class of offense do not qualify as a defense to liability.
Subjects corporations, associations, and partnerships to liability.
A claimant who prevails will be awarded actual damages and may recover additional exemplary damages.
Any person found responsible for any amount is jointly liable with any other person found to be liable for the entire amount of damages.
If a legal entity is found responsible for trafficking, a shareholder, partner, or member of that entity is jointly and severally liable if the shareholder, member, or partner was found to have personally benefited from the trafficking.
There is no statute of limitations for a victim to bring forward a private action.
Previously in Arizona, human and sex trafficking were only addressed in criminal statutes. Victims could not take civil action against their perpetrators in state court.
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, in the United States, both U.S. residents and foreign nationals are being bought and sold like modern-day slaves. The Bureau says traffickers use violence, manipulation, or false promises of well-paying jobs or romantic relationships to exploit victims. Victims are forced to work as prostitutes or to take jobs as migrant, domestic, restaurant, or factory workers with little or no pay.
“What we are seeing is that there is a ton of activity, there are a ton of people being bought and sold for sex in our community,” Dominique Roe-Sepowitz, Director of Sex Trafficking Intervention Research at Arizona State University, said last April, adding that the traffickers “are being more violent” and are “more likely to be carrying a weapon.”