One Family vs. Sovereignty of the Individual

As usual with my blog, I want to remind people the blog is written with my students in mind.  I was asked not to share stories with students during class time.  “Work bell-to-bell and only on the subject.” Just a directive I respect.  I do my best to respect the directive and follow it, to the point I know other teachers don’t have that same directive.  The directive does make it a challenge to fully connect (ON A PROFESSIONAL LEVEL) with my students.  I do find this to be a way to connect to my students and others or even … disconnect with others.  That disconnect is not my choice. 

Therefore, by writing a blog and sending it out to the universe, I can connect with my students / friends / family / and OTHERS.

Let’s take a look at the Elk Grove Unified School District’s decision to close an entire school district due to one EGUSD family having the COVID19.  I find this decision to be a great example of using a hammer to swat at a fly off a forehead.

I trust experts.  Right or wrong.  I trust experts.  Experts are informing us that COVID-19 is serious, but not to the point of GRAVE CONCERN.

I had one of my guitar students (again, I teach high school instrumental music) ask me, “Mr. Everts are you concerned about the Coronavirus?”

My response, “I am more concerned about my car being hit in our school’s parking lot at the end of the school day than getting the Coronavirus.  Wash your hands.” My student giggled, “Good point.”

Here is my take on the decision to close an entire school district, one of the largest school districts in the largest state of California.  My DISCLAIMER:   I only have information given to us through the media / superintendent.

Based on that information, the decision to close the entire school district was an overreaction. 

I respect how difficult it was.  I respect the superintendent has more information than me. 

Yet, my take on the decision being the overreaction is because I believe people need to have a sense of the sovereignty of the individual

Some quotes about the sovereignty of the individual and see how that sovereignty of the individual could be eroding: 

“To damage the sovereignty of the individual is to replace a community inspired by love, benevolence, and beauty by another based solely on power.” – Anwar Sadat 

“The less government we have, the better, – the fewer laws, and the less confided power. The antidote to this abuse of formal Government, is, the influence of private character, the growth of the Individual; the appearance of the principal to supersede the proxy; the appearance of the wise man, of whom the existing government, is, it must be owned, but a shabby imitation.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Locke built on this concept of self-ownership when he used it to explain how one derives a right to possess objects outside of one’s self, his famous (or infamous) labor theory of property: … This no body has any right to but himself. The labour of his body, and the work of his hands, we may say, are properly his. – Libertarian thought

John Locke wrote in his Two Treatises on Government that “every man has a Property in his own Person”. Locke also said that the individual “has a right to decide what would become of himself and what he would do, and as having a right to reap the benefits of what he did”.

I do believe government does have a purpose to take care of its people.  Yet, in perspective, how does one family in a school district cause the government (public schools are government) to shut down education for an entire week?  I don’t understand how the response is equal to the action. 

I support closing the school and other schools in that area of the family with the COVID-19 of Elk Grove Unified School District (EGUSD).  I do believe that is the MOST the response should have been.  Even with that response, I still find it to be rather large response and I will soon explain why. 

When the EGUSD leadership made the decision to not have school for an entire week, that decision stopped a district music festival IN THE MIDDLE OF THE FESTIVAL.  What?   Why not allow the festival to finish?  There were already schools that had performed and schools there waiting to perform.  By stopping the festival, that stopping prevented the spreading of the COVID-19?  

When the EGUSD leadership made the decision, that decision stopped Sheldon High School competing in a Northern California play-off basketball game.  Based on a family, that as far as what we know, may not have anything to do with Sheldon High School.  Even if it did … sovereignty of the individual – what I understand it to be – should have been enacted. 

When the EGUSD leadership made the decision, that decision stopped Pleasant Grove High School from enjoying their prom.  The dresses.  The suits.  The dinners.  The limousines.  The extras that make the prom enjoyable.  One family having the COVID-19 stopped those memories being created?

What would you have done Mr. Everts?  (use “Mr. Everts” because I write this as if my students are reading what I wrote).

I would have written the following:


it has come to our attention that a family in the “NAME-OF-HIGH-SCHOOL” region has the COVID-19.  We are taking this information very seriously and hope for the best for that EGUSD family.  Please know we are taking the precaution by closing those K-12 schools in that EGUSD region and will be doing a deep cleaning of those schools this next week.  We apologize for any stress this decision will cause on your family.  

Please know that if the COVID-19 has impacted more EGUSD families, as we move forward more school closures could happen .

To have better chance to avoid getting the COVID-19, please be diligent in washing your hands and studying this link __________ 

EGUSD leadership believes to give you all the information our own families need to make it through this unique time and then, give you the full responsibility to take care of your health / your family’s health / and others’ health around you.

Hope the EGUSD music festival goes well.  Pleasant Grove High School – have a wonderful time at your prom.  Sheldon High School basketball team – play well and come home with a victory. 

Many Blessings,
Superintendent Everts

That is what I would have done, in part, because I believe in what I understand is the sovereignty of the individual.  Once you have been given information, you are fully responsible for the decision(s) you make.  Sure.  You are fearful of COVID-19?  Now you know it is here…do what you will to best respond to that information. 

To have shut down the entire school district seems to be, again, an overreaction, if not, taking away the individual’s responsibility in their response.

“We” (adults) are teaching children all over the world.  What lesson did they learn from closing EGUSD and all the EGUSD activities on that March 7th?  Well, it depends on how you see the world.

  • Better safe than sorry
  • Avoid lawsuits
  • Taking care of others
  • The strength of the government
  • The lack of allowing people to make choices
  • Taking away memories from children
  • The government knows better 
  • One family makes a difference …

There is much to learn from this decision.  The one thing we need to do from this decision is learn. 

Leadership is influence.  How did this decision influence our lives?

When the government chooses for us, it is a sign of things to come. 

  • Should have received the information about the EGUSD family. 
  • Should have given the individual the sovereignty to make the decision to attend the music festival, basketball game, the prom. 

Could this decision making process by the EGUSD Leadership / government entities in general be a sign of things to come?

Here is one more point; close to being ironic, as it relates to my passion for SOVEREIGNTY OF THE  INDIVIDUAL.  Now that the EGUSD LEADERSHIP – knowing COVID-19 is in their district – has allowed all the thousands of students to have the chance to roam around the area for a week, those students now have the opportunity to have “freedom” to get the COVID-19 and share it with others.  By the way, the age of the folks impacted the most by the COVID-19 is not school age… It may have been more safe to have the students in school.  Hmmmm…  


Definition of Sovereignty : Sovereignty is the full right and power of a governing body over itself, without any interference from outside sources or bodies. In political theory, sovereignty is a substantive term designating supreme authority over some polity. In international law, sovereignty is the exercise of power by a state.