America's Mom with Sherronna Bishop Joined by Jayme Goscha

about a year ago

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Sherronna Bishop: Hi, everybody, and welcome to America's mom. So, today we have a special guest with us, Jamie Goscha, and she has been a very inspirational mother. When I was asking people who could I have on America's mom that's just a real go-getter. They said you've got to get this lady on. She's always at the school board meetings, taking that school board to task. You come from a very liberal, progressive area where they have only just recently lifted all of the COVID mandates, and there's some type of normalcy coming back after two years. So, I've got to guess that you are very much about personal rights, and you understand a lot of that. Kind of tell us who you are and how you got to this point where we're at today.

Jayme Goscha: Thanks for having me.

Sherronna Bishop: Yeah, absolutely. Thank you.

Jayme Goscha: My gosh. So, yeah, I'm a sixth-generation Colorado native. I grew up in southeastern Colorado. My dad is a rancher. My mom is a public-school teacher. I met my husband at CSU in Fort Collins, and he was from Carbondale, so we moved here when we got married in 2000. So, I've been here a while. I started my career has been in early childhood and early childhood special education, and that's how I got involved in the schools. I had a non-profit early childhood center in Glenwood for 11 years, raised my kids there, and then they went to school in Carbondale. When they went to Crystal River Elementary, that's when I got a job as an early childhood special ed teacher. I was there for five years, working with our most vulnerable kids. I love this population, love our community, and they have really great families, but I ran into a lot of trouble with our school district administration. I saw things that I could no longer work there.

Sherronna Bishop: How long ago was this?

Jayme Goscha: I quit in 2016.

Sherronna Bishop: Okay, and you also have your master's as well.

Jayme Goscha: Yes.

Sherronna Bishop: In early childhood.

Jayme Goscha: In early childhood education.

Sherronna Bishop: Yeah, so you really know what you're talking about when it comes to educating children.

Jayme Goscha: Especially our youngest and most vulnerable, so yeah, I ran into a lot of trouble with the district just trying to get their needs, especially kids with special education needs. Getting their needs met and getting it in an equitable way because we do have a high Hispanic population and a high Spanish-speaking population. There just weren't a lot of things that were on the up and up in a lot of situations. Then with my own children, I have a son who went through the Carbondale school system, and my daughter also. And things just weren't working for him especially. He ended up passing away when he was an eighth-grader here in Carbondale, in a really tragic and sudden situation after I had already left the district. But through that as well, we had a lot of issues with them not respecting his privacy, not respecting our privacy, and really affecting kids. The bottom line for me is when kids are being negatively affected by the actions of the adults, something's got to change. And that's what gets me so passionate is fighting for those that don't have a voice.

Sherronna Bishop: So, did you feel that the district was overstepping and their policies were just not in support of health situations for children?

Jayme Goscha: Yes and no accountability. You'd talk to somebody about a situation, and they'd say, oh, that's not me, go to this person, go to that person.

Sherronna Bishop: Famous pass the buck game.

Jayme Goscha: Yep, for sure, and that's where I saw a lot, especially our district leadership. There was no leadership. There was no acceptance of responsibility, and in my son's situation, the school was told that it was a suicide when it was still under investigation. So, kids were being told it was a suicide. They were like; we didn't even know he was sad. That's what hurt us so much was that kids were carrying a burden that they didn't need to carry. All we wanted to do was make sure that this didn't happen again. Change some protocols so that you follow the chain of command. Like the counselors not giving out personally identifiable information and sharing information that they didn't have the right to share, it wasn't even accurate. So, that led me to do research about FERPA and the Freedom of Information Act and what my rights were as a parent because I wanted to know how teachers are sharing this or how are things getting spread through an entire district about my kid that is not factual.

Sherronna Bishop: And private information.

Jayme Goscha: Yes, private. So, that led me to make a request for information. I got a binder, this big of emails going around about my son that were not...

Sherronna Bishop: That must have felt like a betrayal.

Jayme Goscha: Total and I vowed from that day - I mean, I'm a Christian, and I was thankful for my counselor at the time, our pastor, who said, this can overrun your life. You can let this take over. I'm that kind of person. I don't know when to stop. So, I had to take a step back for a few years and really say this is God's battle. I'm going to do what I can. I know this, I have this information, and I know this is what's happening, but I didn't know exactly how I was going to make a difference until the mask mandate.

Sherronna Bishop: So, take us to 2020. Children were being fined $500 for playing in the parks up here. There was no mercy. There was no grace, and it was the fear capital of Colorado, basically through this corridor. So, what happened to you? You had already been empowered through the loss of your son and knowing what your rights were as a parent, knowing where they stopped and where your rights really began. They had no say over that. So, you're empowering yourself, and you don't even know the battle that's coming. So, what happened in April of 2020 when all of this started?

Jayme Goscha: I grew up on a ranch. My kids are ranch kids. So, we have a different philosophy and a different understanding. I'm also a child developmental list, so I understand the importance of supporting our immune systems. So, when this stuff was coming in, we were like, we're fine. You know, we'll be fine. It's like any other virus you get over it. Luckily for us, we were kind of remote, and we lived on a ranch. The school started saying - you know, my daughter was in eighth grade that year, and they were supposed to go on a trip to Mexico for her eighth-grade year. That got canceled. So, I'm seeing, and I'm just like, what's happening? This makes no sense to me. We got through the summer. Then they started saying, well, we're not going to go back to school. We're going to go to distance learning. As a former teacher of this district, I know they don't know what they're doing when it comes to - I mean, there's always training on something, but there's never any support in the execution of it. So, I was like, my daughter's going to lose a whole year of learning, no way. So, I took her out of school. I was very public about how I was doing that and saying if our administration wasn't going to listen to us. We have to take our kids out, pull our kids out. The only thing that they're going to listen to is funding.

Sherronna Bishop: Were other parents starting to follow your example or ask questions at least and reach out.

Jayme Goscha: Yes, there were some other parents that would reach out to me because I used Facebook and whatever I needed to use. Then there was a Facebook page called Roaring Fork Families for Choice. That was an open public page and I started using that as my - and - Oh - Woo.

Sherronna Bishop: Did you get a lot of resistance?

Jayme Goscha: A lot of resistance and a lot of hate, like, why are you doing this? You don't support teachers. I am a teacher, but I'm also a good teacher. So, I know what's best for kids. A year of online learning, especially for preschoolers, when they were saying, oh, we're going to zoom in for our ten-minute story. That's the ridiculous thing in the entire world. When that happened, I pulled my daughter and enrolled her in an online Christian school. It was the best semester of my life, not hers being a 15-year-old with your mom 24 hours a day.

Sherronna Bishop: But what a cool opportunity, though.

Jayme Goscha: Super cool.

Sherronna Bishop: And you knew she was learning. How has her development compared to others who chose the public-school online distance learning?

Jayme Goscha: Night and day, and I was really selective again because I had that knowledge of what the schools were teaching and not teaching. I was really selective in the courses we chose for her for that semester because she's a high school kid. I also know as a developmentalists, the social piece is the biggest part of high school. They need their friends, and they need that social context to become the people they're supposed to be. So, I specifically chose health that she could get in a Christian context because that reflects our values as parents and our beliefs. I chose the science curriculum because, at Glenwood Springs High School, they had some kind of sustainability and this whole green thing.

Sherronna Bishop: Green piece.

Jayme Goscha: Yeah, that whole thing. You're a Christian rancher. We're at the bottom. We eat meat, you know.

Sherronna Bishop: You're the greatest environmentalist, though. That Is the truth.

Jayme Goscha: People don't know that. That's not what's coming through in our lovely media. So, we did that knowing, and we told our daughter too. As soon as they come back to in-person learning, you can go to school, and they did the following semester, so the spring of her freshman year. They were fully masked and the whole nine yards. She's her mom's daughter and was a resistor. I said, if you can't breathe, take it off. They said we would never have them masked for more than however many minutes, and they get breaks. It never happened. It did not happen. The school turned into a prison. They did not care about any of the other misbehaviors that were going on. It was only about the masks, and then they kind of released it in the summer, except for athletes. So, that's what really got the page turned for me. It just made no sense, and they were punishing unvaccinated kids, and kids by making them wear masks after they had told them they never have to wear them again if they get vaccinated.

Sherronna Bishop: So, I just want to make sure I'm clear. At the high school your child was attending, they began separating people by vaccine status. Making those who had not received the emergency use medication to wear a mask.

Jayme Goscha: During practice.

Sherronna Bishop: And then everyone else was free to breathe fresh, clean.

Jayme Goscha: As long as they brought in proof of their status.

Sherronna Bishop: Wow.

Jayme Goscha: So, it was a new type of discrimination, and I wasn't having it. That's when a lot of other parents started reaching out to me, saying, we're not having this either.

Sherronna Bishop: Jayme, so here's the thing. This whole story has been a common theme throughout the country, yet you chose to take it and use it as your battle cry. You have stood up for your parents. You have been fighting the last two years to get normalcy back and to put the school board in check. You guys have a new superintendent now. You forced this one out. I was so excited the day he was forced out. And you're now being asked, I mean, it's such an incredible full circle. You're now being asked to be on the selection committee for the superintendent. After you made waves, you shouted from the rooftops, and you did everything that was appropriate for your own child. Do you think that a lot of that has to do with the way that you lived in integrity through this whole situation?

Jayme Goscha: I think so, but I also think it's the good Lord, and through this whole thing, I'm happy for the pandemic because it did shine a light in the darkness that we were just kind of going through, not seeing, and not being aware of. That's my motivator for all this. Yes, it's for my kids, but it's also shining a light, be that light. You always hear that cliche, be the change you want to be in the world. We have to do it, but we have to do it to the glory of him. That's what keeps me motivated because there are times; we had the school board election, and it didn't go our way. You just feel so overwhelmed and so down, especially in this area that we live in. It is such a progressive place, and you just feel like nobody else is out there. Every day I get woken up again, and here's something new to do, but we got to see you at the county courthouse when you were there and Dr. Tom Lankering. That was a breath of fresh air, right. It was a light, and it was another step, like, you can do this.

Sherronna Bishop: So, Jamie, you guys were experiencing this incredible overreach at the high school there, separating kids out by vaccine status and actually masking kids who had not taken the emergency use medication. And this is at a time when we still don't know the effects. We don't know what's going to happen. They're publicly shaming kids. How did you handle that when you started hearing about this? Because your child was in sports? What was your reaction?

Jayme Goscha: Well, I reached out to the people that I thought would be able to help. Right. The athletic director, the assistant athletic director, and the principals. They all kept telling me the same thing, and then the superintendent would send out a memo. He'd say, check the memo. I'd read the memo. There was nothing there. Then he'd say, oh, that's old, it's stricken from the record, that's the old version. Here's the new updated version, and it would literally have a line through the part that was applicable to us. I just thought it was pointless. It's beyond; I can't even look at my kid and say, this is what we have to do because it didn't make sense.

Sherronna Bishop: They weren't even trying to justify. They're just like, oh, that is the newest memo.

Jayme Goscha: Then they would direct it to the health department and on and on. That part we were not going to have, and we talked to my daughter about maybe going to a different school because neighboring districts did not have the same mandates. It made no sense. You know, we could go to the community center in town. I said, why don't you have practice there? You don't have to have a mask, and you don't have to call kids out. But then it lasted all the way through volleyball season to basketball season and basketball season I about got kicked out of a few games for having my mask down. Then the tipping point for me where I said, this is enough. There was a JV basketball game, and somebody on the team had tested positive for COVID that day. And in front of everybody, they went and just pulled the kids who were not vaccinated because they couldn't play, they couldn't be in the gym in front of everyone.

Sherronna Bishop: This goes back to your investigation of how people are passing around our medical information and privacy.

Jayme Goscha: Yes.

Sherronna Bishop: So, did that kick in? Like this is supposed to be private information.

Jayme Goscha: Yep. And I was just trying to let parents know they don't have a right to do that. They can't do that. This is discrimination. They publicly told your kids' status, and that is discrimination. Some parents were upset about it, but at this point, they're like it was too late. You know, were just getting through the season. We're just going through it. And so, at some point, you can't force people to care, but I can't for the sake of the kids because that broke my heart. It made me so mad.

Sherronna Bishop: I feel you there because I remember sitting and watching people. I remember a parent from Glenwood High School yelling on the basketball court to another child they need to pull their mask up. That's not equitable because if their child couldn't breathe, neither was ours going to be able to breathe. It was the craziest mentality. So, what did you do? You get you're getting mad. There are parents who are just going along. It's like they were already defeated before it even really got going. I mean, the brainwashing had really kicked in. The government's in charge. We're just going to comply to try to get some little bit of our freedoms here. The kids get to play sports. We should just be grateful. Right? Was that a lot of the mentality with the majority of parents?

Jayme Goscha: Yes, and we didn't think we'd be able to have more than one parent. You know, last year we had only one parent who could come to the games. So, like, let's just get through it, and I just can't because I'm telling my kid to be brave. Stand up for yourself, telling her friends, and they're sending me videos. So, that's really what strengthened me is I just started videoing. When our superintendent of schools would come to a game and harass people by handing them masks, telling elderly people, put on a mask, or you'll have to leave. I just videoed, and I videoed the coaches who before parents came in, have their masks down. The hypocrisy was killing our kids because our kids trust no one now. They don't trust any adults. These are people in positions of trust that we're sending our kids with every day and trusting them to take care of them and do the best they can. I don't do that. I don't trust them anymore, and I think that has been a huge shift. I think parents have seen that also. And the videos that I get from the kids, this is what happened. I got pulled out, physically pulled out of a group of kids, and told, I'm sick of seeing you without a mask; pull it up, or you're going home.

Sherronna Bishop: What are the other steps that the school district has been taking to kind of enforce these COVID policies, but also health policies? Is there anything that the public needs to know about?

Jayme Goscha: Yeah. So, part of it was they had COVID vaccination clinics in the school during school hours in elementary school one-time, middle school, and then the high school. Another thing that was super alarming to me as I was helping kids find their classes in the first week of school. They call it processing day, which again is another prison term, which I don't know why they use that. (laughing) So, I'm helping process these kids, and I'm standing next to this woman. I introduced myself, and she said; do you work here? And I said, no, I'm a parent. I said, what's your role here? She said, well, I'm the new administrator of the health clinic that just opened this year. I said, oh, the health clinic, what kind of services do you offer? Immediately out of her mouth were birth control and STD testing. We offer behavioral health services, all these things that she was listing. I was like, wow, so do you have to have parent permission for that? I'm assuming you do. She said no, what's great about Colorado law is now, if a child is 15, they don't have to have parent permission to visit our school health clinic. If they're 12, they don't have to have permission to see a behavioral health specialist. So, in theory, a 12-year-old could go to a behavioral health specialist and then get a prescription without their parents knowing.

Sherronna Bishop: So, they literally told you that directly to your face.

Jayme Goscha: Yes. So, I immediately emailed the principal and said my child would not be using that health clinic. He said there's nothing we can do because it's Colorado law. I just have to counsel my daughter and her friends. Don't go there. If you need some help, if you need anything, you call me, or I direct them to another facility in town if they need help with any of those pregnancy kinds of issues because we don't know these people.

Sherronna Bishop: Not the role of the school district.

Jayme Goscha: Not the role. They way overstepped.

Sherronna Bishop: So, what were the actions that were taken? How did you deal with it? I mean, people have all different methods. You know, I'm loud, obnoxious, and go public with everything. How did you guys start handling this? Because I know there was a movement happening because school board elections were coming, and I heard all of the chatter that was happening up here. A big group of parents was assembling, by the way, from every political background, which I thought was incredible, like finally, something was breaking through. Probably the videos you were sharing showing this is not about a virus. This is strictly about control and absolute 100% obedience. What was the ticker? And then how did you guys transition into these school board races?

Jayme Goscha: So, a lot of it was the neighboring school district had a big parent group and was really hit it. We were doing the same things. We just had a smaller number of parents on the same side. So, as I said, I saw a lot that was happening next door. Then I saw on TV that there was a group called Moms for Liberty, and I thought, we don't need to reinvent the wheel. There's not a charter membership here in Colorado. We can start that. So, I just said we're going to do that. Got a few groups of ten, 12 moms together. We said we were going to have a meeting and do this. I had 50 parents and community members. Not even just parents but community members show up. So, we said we don't really need the national affiliation. We're going to be Parents for Liberty Colorado. We've got a Facebook page. We got a telegram page and stuff. I could never imagine that this was going to happen, but it was not just the mask mandates, not just the virus stuff, but the stuff they were teaching in the schools. Just last week, I got a PowerPoint of the sexual orientation PowerPoint that they're teaching in health class as a graduation requirement in our schools, and parents are finally awake. That was the hard part, too. You just get through like, okay, the mask, just unmasking our kids, that's our focus.

Jayme Goscha: Then - boom - rapid-fire, then there's something else going on, kids getting kicked out of school for not using the right pronouns for somebody. It was so much that we really had to band together and keep our focus on the schools right now because there's so much going on. We really stuck with our school board election. Now, we've got a superintendent vacancy to fill, but things are moving. Just speaking up at the school board meetings. You know, just being a thorn in their side. They started saying we could only have 3 minutes, and you have to sign up 24 hours in advance. Then, the district committee member would hold up a sign and say - it was only Zoom meetings - so they'd pull up a sign. You have one minute left on the zoom - 30 seconds left. So, they did not want to hear from us. Repeated calls to board members to the superintendent; nothing, no calls, or emails. We were sending emails in mass, and nothing, no response. They just did not want to hear it.

Sherronna Bishop: What did you make of that? Because this is a pretty close-knit community. Even if there are challenges that the community tends to bond together. That's consistent, I think, with most smaller communities across the country. People who are listening to you right now are really resonating with this. We begged, we asked, and we pleaded. We gave notice. We declared our constitutional rights, parents' rights, and medical rights. They still wouldn't listen. Was there ever a time with any of the administration that you felt like you broke through?

Jayme Goscha: Not really. Even our board, our school board, who's elected by us, did not want to hear it. It was all about their view of safety, and it was kept going back to the health department, the CDC because they're not virologists. We just want to educate our kids. Well, you're killing our kids. You're killing our kids, and they don't want to look at the fentanyl epidemic. They don't want to look at the depression and the other risk factors that our kids are facing from this isolation and just being so alone. So, I don't think that there was ever one person that I was like, yes, they're listening to us, not one. Not one on the board, not one on the district executive leadership team, whatever that is. You know, the whole 12 administrators that run our schools. Finally, a couple of teachers came and met with our group, and they were like, we can't say anything. We're going to lose our jobs. We can't say anything because of the culture of the school. I had one that quit her job because she would not wear a mask, and she was not going to get vaccinated. And another one was like. I just have to because she was being discriminated against, too, because everyone knew her vaccination status because, at teacher meetings, she was the only one that had to wear a mask.

Sherronna Bishop: They were separating people by their status.

Jayme Goscha: Separating, yep - teachers, not only students but teachers, too.

Sherronna Bishop: Wow. Has anyone followed up with a lawsuit against the school district that you're aware of?

Jayme Goscha: Yes, one that I'm aware of. But I'm not sure where they are in that in that fight.

Sherronna Bishop: But fantastic. You know, these are things, as we sat there going through these experiences, we knew this was going to end one day. There was going to be fallout for this. You're hearing about people who are getting in the fight locally and supporting you all and coming out against sexual education, which is really just grooming. And it's against the law, actually, quite frankly, what they're doing at the schools. How are parents justifying keeping their kids in the school district? Because you're an educator. I also have a high schooler who has stayed in the district, and I'm curious to know how is this justification happening in your area? Because it's very prolific, the damage they're doing, the division between parent and child, and the hyper. You said it already, the pronouns every day in this rural community, they're citing their pronouns.

Jayme Goscha: Well, we are in a rural community, so the school options are not that many. We have a couple of charter schools in our district and a couple of community schools, but we also have about 60% Latino population and non-English speaking. So, a lot of parents don't even know what's being taught. I think the language barrier is part of it. Also, there are no real options for kids because we have kids who qualify for free and reduced lunch, which kind of gives us our poverty level. They don't have access to other schools. We have a private school for high school here in our district.

Sherronna Bishop: So, you feel like with the limited options, and I would say being in a rural area - even job situations are very limited as you're trying to figure out how to live in the most beautiful place in the whole world and still feed your family. What do you think it's going to take moving forward to get this community and communities like this back on track? You are an educator. You've seen how far these policies have set our children back in learning and communication, even brain development. The lowest IQs in history as long as they've been charting this stuff. What's the road back?

Jayme Goscha: Well, I think part of it is just to focus back on education. This is your job to educate our kids, not indoctrinate, not politicize, but to educate. My daughter would talk about in geography class that she had to do an article response to George Floyd. I'm like, can you identify Spain on a map? I would like you to learn some geography, and they just get so beat down. So, I think we're got to get back to basics, focus on our families, and get our parents' rights back. I mean, every research article you read about successful adults comes from intact families or supportive families. Even if they're not intact, they have a mom and a dad that are there supporting them. That's what we need to focus on. I work in the industry of child care. You know, we're talking about universal preschool. Again, it's just separating our families, and how do we get back to preserving family? You know, with our education system, our kids are entitled to public education. They're entitled. We live in America for a reason. They're entitled to that, and parents have a lot more power than they realize. It's been systematically taken away from us because if they just don't tell us this part or if they just kind of hide this part. Then just do this really public visioning meeting that meets their accountability requirements then they're all set. That's not how it works. So, I think just educating parents. Parents, educate yourselves on what your rights are in the public school system. We have all the rights. They work for us. We are taxpayers.

Sherronna Bishop: That's exactly right. One thing I noticed when you sat down is you had a bracelet on your wrist. I know you said your son had been a key source of inspiration for you. Can you tell us a little bit about that bracelet, and what it means?

Jayme Goscha: So, my son Trent was probably the most patriotic kid I've ever met. He wanted to join Boy Scouts just so he could present the colors on Veterans Day. Veterans Day was his favorite holiday. He was a cowboy, loved servicemen, and loved people in uniform who were protecting our rights, so he could be free to be a cowboy, free to play baseball, and do the things that he loved to do. He was an ornery kid. We always told him to be kind, but when he passed away, we made these bracelets that said be kind but stay ornery because you need to have a little fun in life.

Sherronna Bishop: You do.

Jayme Goscha: He reminds us to stay ornery a little bit.

Sherronna Bishop: Well, you are going to be such an inspiration to so many parents who are just about the end of their rope right now. They need this level of encouragement. I want to thank you so much for being with me today. I'm going to look forward to having you back on. Thank you, guys, so much for being with us. We'll see you again soon.