Federal Court Rebuffs Betsy Devos

Editor’s note:  If there has ever been a less competent and less qualified U.S. Secretary of Education than Betsy DeVos, I can’t find out who they were.  President Trump’s appointment of DeVos has been decried by public school advocates from day one.  Time after time she has favored private schools over public schools and seems to have gone out of her way to help them.  One of the latest examples was her decision to divert more Covid-19 relief funding to private schools than Congress intended.

Fortunately, as reported here by longtime education writer for The Washington Post, Valarie Strauss, a Federal judge has just ruled against DeVos.  Here is her article:

“A federal judge in Washington state temporarily blocked Education Secretary Betsy DeVos from enforcing a controversial rule that directs states to give private schools a bigger share of federal coronavirus aid than Congress had intended.

In a lawsuit filed by the state, U.S. District Judge Barbara J. Rothstein on Friday issued a preliminary injunction and castigated the Education Department over the July 1 regulation about the distribution of federal funds. The money, about $13.5 billion, was included for K-12 schools in Congress’s March $2 trillion-aid package — known as the Cares Act — to mitigate economic damage from the pandemic.
Rothstein slammed the Education Department for arguing that states would not suffer irreparable damage if forced to implement the rule and said there was cause to put a preliminary injunction on the rule while the broader issues are worked out.

“The department claim that the state faces only an economic injury, which ordinarily does not qualify as irreparable harm, is remarkably callous, and blind to the realities of this extraordinary pandemic and the very purpose of the Cares Act: to provide emergency relief where it is most needed,” Rothstein wrote.

The Education Department did not respond to a request for comment about the decision.

U.S. legislators from both parties said that most of the funding was intended to be distributed to public and private elementary and secondary schools using a formula based on how many poor children they serve that had long been used for distributing federal aid.

But in April, DeVos said she wanted money sent to private schools based on the total number of students in the school — not how many students from low-income families attended. That would have sent hundreds of millions of dollars more to private schools than Congress had intended.

Critics blasted the plan, saying DeVos was pushing her agenda to privatize the public education system and build up alternatives to public schools.  When the rule went into effect on July 1, it had been modified from DeVos’s original plan. It limited the aid going to private schools, saying school districts charged with distributing Cares Act funding could base the amount for private schools on the number of poor students enrolled.

But public schools could then use Cares Act funding only to help poor students — a directive that opponents said was not a real alternative for school districts. The Council of the Great City Schools, a nonprofit organization that serves as the voice for the 76 largest urban public school districts in the country, said in an amicus brief that the rule would divert hundreds of millions of dollars “of desperately needed funds” from public schools serving at-risk students.

Private schools also were eligible to receive loans — which could be forgiven — through another part of the Cares Act, the Paycheck Protection Program, which public districts could not tap.  Private schools, including some with endowments worth millions of dollars, obtained PPP funds.

For example, Sidwell Friends School, where former presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama had sent their daughters, won $5 million in PPP funding, which was intended to help small businesses and low-wage workers during the pandemic. Sidwell has a $52 million endowment but says it is restricted in how it can be used.

The Washington lawsuit was not the only one filed against the Education Department’s new rule. Eight states, including DeVos’s home state of Michigan, as well as the District of Columbia and four school districts sued the education secretary in July.

At a hearing held virtually last week before U.S. District Judge James Donato in San Francisco, Michigan Assistant Attorney General Neil Giovanatti called DeVos a “Reverse Robin Hood” who was trying to take from the poor and give to the rich. The lawsuit says DeVos does not have the authority to dictate how the Cares Act money should be distributed.”

And A Child Shall Lead Them

We’ve all seen countless examples of children making an effort to make this world a better place.  Each one touches our heart.  And so will this story about seven-year Alden Young of the Birmingham suburb of McCalla who raised $1,000 to buy pack packs and supplies for students at his elementary school.  Here is how television station 33/40 told Alden’s story:

“Aiden Young has been ready for school to begin for months. When he returned to McAdory Elementary School for the first time Wednesday it was to make sure his classmates would be ready too.

Young walked into the building draped with brand new backpacks. The backpacks were purchased thanks to the seven-year-old’s determination and some lemonade.

Aiden Young raised over a $1,000 in lemonade sales. The 7-year-old used the money to donate backpacks to classmates at McAdory Elementary School. (Stephen Quinn | abc3340.com)

Aiden’s mother said it started after her son spotted a box of Crayon’s at Walmart. Aiden decided to use a lemonade stand to raise the money he needed for the crayons. The result was something even sweeter. Aiden successfully raised more than a $1,000 with the stand.

“There are definitely families that their parents or grandparents are out of jobs right now and so I think that has boosted the needs that we previously had.”

The backpacks were filled with school supplies for the age of COVID-19 including hand sanitizer and headphones for virtual learning.

Brenae Young hopes her son has learned a lasting lesson which goes beyond the classroom.

“I truly believe if you give out or give to others in need than it will come back full circle for you.”

McAdory Elementary School encourages students to be ‘world changers.’ Aiden appears ready to do just that.

“I feel like when all of this is over and all of that I feel like the world is going to be a whole different place, like with people loving each other and all in the streets,” said Aiden standing in the lobby of his elementary school, “A lot of things are going to be happening.”

Editor’s note:  Go here to see the story as it appeared on air.  It is impossible to learn of someone like Alden without contrasting it to the endless examples we are bombarded with every day of politicians and their campaigns trying to bully us with their accusations of how evil others are.  May God continue to bless Alden Young and so many more like him.

Tackling Technology

My teenage years and those a ninth-grader faces today are daylight and dark.  Really mind-boggling really.

I remember our first black and white TV, a party-line telephone, a stick shift and a clutch, a window fan.  The closest I probably ever came to technology was adjusting the sprockets on a two-row Covington planter to switch between planting corn or cotton.

Kids today are in a computerized, push button life with the world at their fingertips.

And so, since my DNA never knew technology, I have basically had an aversion to it all my life.  Which is why I held on to my very old flip phone until a week ago.  It did not take pictures, was about to fall apart and did not have apps that allow you to check email, search the internet, get directions to where you are going, etc.

It increasingly dropped phone calls right in the middle of a conversation.  (It recently did that five times before I completed one call.)  So Monday of last week off I went to my Verizon store.  They asked me if I wanted to upgrade.  I told them that two tin cans and some twine would probably be an upgrade.

So now I have something officially known as an Apple iPhone SE.  It has more buttons than Carter has liver pills.  And I stare mystified at each and every one of them.  (And for the life of me, I do not understand why you spend hundreds of dollars for a new phone and get NO instructions whatsoever.  I mean, can you at least show me how to turn the damn thing on and off?)

Before my purchase, I emailed about 30 friends and asked them why kind of phone they had.  At least 90 percent had an iPhone.  This being the case, I figured that if I too got one also, I would have a lot more friends I could call on for help.

Which is what I’ve been doing.  One came to my house one evening and got some things hooked up.  I went to lunch with another trying to figure out which buttons to push to at least call someone.  Last Sunday I made the 350 mile roundtrip from Montgomery to Mobile so my son could share some knowledge with me.  (He apparently uses his phone to do everything except wash his clothes.  And for all I know, his phone may turn the washing machine on.)

One night I’m randomly punching buttons and suddenly there is a longtime friend talking to me, alive and in color.  I was startled.  I inadvertently hit facetime and there she was.  (Now just how I got her on the phone I’m not sure, but I do know that before you try facetime you should comb your hair.)

Pray for me as I fumble and bumble along.  Or just call it, country meets high tech.

 

A Prayer For These Troubled Times

To say these are troubled times is a vast understatement.  The entire country is gripped by the pandemic.  No one seems to know exactly what to do.  And with the opening of schools across the country, the uncertainly grows much more.

Indeed, if we have ever needed the comfort and counsel of a higher power, this is it.

Our friend, Rev. Charlie Johnson of Texas who birthed the organization, Texas Pastors for Children, sends along a prayer that is especially fitting.

“Heavenly Father,

We come to you on this strange first day of school asking for your blessings.

For the child whose first day of kindergarten will happen over Zoom,
Whose backpack full of school supplies will spend weeks collecting dust in the corner of her bedroom,
Who has been talking for months about “when I get to go to school,”
We ask for your blessings.

For the parent who wonders whether to bother taking a first-day-of-school photo,
Who bought a first-day-of-school outfit that’s still hanging in the closet,
Whose first-day-of-school tears are different than she’d ever dreamed they’d be,
We ask for your blessings.

For the teacher who spent hours decorating her vacant classroom,
Who won’t meet his students in person for weeks—and may never meet some of them,
Who will only see the smiling faces of children on a computer screen today,
We ask for your blessings.

For the child who longs to play with his friends,
Who doesn’t understand why the school playground is roped off,
Who feels isolated and alone,
We ask for your blessings.

For the parent who has become a full-time tutor,
Who misses the routine and the freedom of pick-up and drop-off,
Who has had to sacrifice her own pursuits to stay home with her child,
We ask for your blessings.

For the teacher who is learning on the fly,
Whose lesson plans and teaching methods are changing daily,
Who is trying to understand,
We ask for your blessings.

For the child who is closer to college than kindergarten,
Whose visions of prom and graduation have become murky,
Who just wants a normal year,
We ask for your blessings.

For the parent whose calendar is devoid of recitals and football games,
Who doesn’t know what to look forward to right now,
Who just wants a normal year,
We ask for your blessings.

For the teacher who is pondering early retirement,
Who wonders if this is all worth the hassle,
Who just wants a normal year,
We ask for your blessings.

For all who are disappointed and all who are excited,
For all who are angry and all who are hopeful,
For all who are afraid and all who are eager,
For all who are learning and all who are ready to learn,
We ask for your blessings.

This is the day that the Lord has made,
Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Amen.”

 

A Teacher Speaks

Justin Minkel teaches 1st and 2nd grades at Jones Elementary in Springdale, Ark., a high-performing, high-poverty school where 85 percent of the students are English-language learners. Minkel was the 2007 Arkansas Teacher of the Year.  He shares his thoughts on where we are today:

“When teachers chose to give our lives to teaching, this wasn’t what we had in mind.

We knew we’d work long hours for low pay. We knew we’d navigate damaging policies crafted far from the world of the classroom.

We never anticipated being told to report to work in conditions that could sicken or kill us by politicians far removed from the risks and realities of our schools.

Across a nation with so many COVID-19 hot spots they’re starting to bleed together, teachers have had very little say on two critical questions: when and how to return to face-to-face teaching.

For many teachers facing the imminent return to school, the customary combination of nerves and excitement has been replaced by mortal terror.

That fear is far from abstract. In June, three Arizona teachers who taught remote lessons from a shared classroom contracted COVID-19. One of them, Kimberly Lopez Chavez Byrd, died.

We all went into teaching prepared to give our days and years to a demanding yet rewarding profession. But asking us to serve as guinea pigs in the most dangerous national experiment ever attempted is a bridge too far.

Cracks Into Canyons

The pandemic has stress-tested every American institution, from our economy to the social fabric of our neighborhoods. Washington Post columnist Monica Hesse wrote in a recent piece on the struggle of working moms: “The novel coronavirus has put sticks of dynamite into the cracks of our society, turning them into the canyons that must be navigated.”

One of those canyons, the fundamental inequities in our system along lines of race and class, has been ripped wide as COVID-19 ravages communities of color at wildly disproportionate rates.

In the region of Arkansas where I teach, the Latinx community has been hit hard, and half the deaths have been people from the Marshall Islands—a community that makes up only 3 percent of our region.

On the same day that my county saw 199 predominantly Latinx workers in an 1,100-person chicken- processing plant test positive for the virus, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced the move to Phase 2 of reopening the state’s economy, loosening restrictions as the number of infections surged.

The pandemic’s disparate impact, wrought in part by failures of political leadership, has profound implications for the risk of infection posed to teachers who serve children of color living in poverty. Increased risk for these children and their families means greater risk for their teachers as well.

How Much Worse Will the Teacher Exodus Get?
Before the pandemic ever began, teachers had been leaving our profession at alarming rates. Sixteen percent of teachers leave the classroom every year, and half the teachers currently in the classroom have considered quitting. Tim Slekar, the dean of education at Edgewood College in Wisconsin, explains the distinction between a shortage and an exodus:

“When we have a shortage, say, of nurses, pay goes up, conditions get better, and enrollment in nursing programs skyrockets. So if we have a teacher shortage, pay would go up. It’s not. Conditions would get better. They’re not. And enrollment in teacher education would go up. It’s declining.”

Now we have a return to classrooms still fraught with the risk of infection, via policies enacted often with little input from the teachers who will take on that risk. It doesn’t take a prophet to predict a surge in the teacher exodus this school year. Twelve percent of teachers who had planned to remain in the classroom are already considering a departure from teaching because of the pandemic, according to an Education Week Research Center survey. If we see a spike in coronavirus cases as schools reopen, that number may rise dramatically.

Treating Symptoms vs. Curing the Disease

Even before the pandemic struck, the push for teacher “self-care” often seemed to address the symptoms of burnout rather than its root causes. The disconnect between prescriptions for self-care and the harsh conditions teachers face can be jarring. In the face of a mortal threat, tips like “laugh and learn from your mistakes” and “find ways to work on and improve your self-image” seem absurd.

With new infections still surging, our nation has to adequately address teachers’ concerns about whether the return to school will damage their health or even claim their lives.

So how can we avert another crisis within a crisis, a worsening teacher exodus nested within the global catastrophe wrought by COVID-19? How can school leaders help teachers care for themselves when, more than ever, their lives are on the line?

1. Provide teachers with decision-making power on when and how to resume in-person instruction.

Teachers understand the realities of the classroom. We know what kind of personal protective equipment students and staff will need when they return to face-to-face teaching. We know what’s realistic when it comes to social distancing in a kindergarten classroom, as opposed to a middle school.

We can also translate emerging knowledge about the spread of COVID-19 into practice, like planning more instruction outside and designing classrooms so that each student has their own space, distanced from other desks or even surrounded by shower curtains, where they can do their work safely.

Returning to school will inevitably be a fraught proposition. But giving teachers a say in when and how it happens could go a long way toward averting the kind of massive teacher strike or exodus that would cripple our school system.

2. Provide options.

One of the laudable responses to the pandemic has been the sensitivity and flexibility shown to families in many school districts. My own district has provided three options for the fall: in-person school, distance learning from home, and a hybrid model in which students attend school in smaller groups two or three days a week.

We need to be equally thoughtful in providing options for teachers. My school district’s leaders have offered a humane gift to every teacher in our district: the option to take a year’s leave while their job is held for the following year. Many teachers, of course, can’t afford a year without pay. But the option to teach virtually or find safer employment for a year could potentially be lifesaving, particularly for those at elevated risk.

3. Proceed with caution.

There’s a long history in education of rolling out tests, programs, and policies before they’ve been adequately researched, developed, and proven. When it comes to reopening schools, we have to base our decisions on research and proven practices, not political talking points or a fevered rush to get the economy rolling at any cost.

There’s a long history in education of rolling out tests, programs, and policies before they’ve been adequately researched, developed, and proven. When it comes to reopening schools, we have to base our decisions on research and proven practices, not political talking points or a fevered rush to get the economy rolling at any cost.

There’s plenty of emerging information on how to reopen schools safely when the time is right, from Centers for Disease Control guidance to successful models in other countries—for example, opening a limited number of days per week and waiting to reopen until the number of new cases has shown a steady decline. We have to act on that information as we make decisions about when and how to return to in-person school this year.

We have no choice but to get this right. It’s a matter of life or death.”

 

An Interesting Look At The 1918 Pandemic

Most of us had never heard of the pandemic of 1918 until we ran headlong into the pandemic of 2020.  So from time to time we’ve come across references to 1918.  But what was it really all about?  Here is an excellent article by Christine Hauser of The New York Times that is not only interesting reading, but shows us that some things–like the pushback against face masks–never change.

“As the influenza pandemic swept across the United States in 1918 and 1919, masks took a role in political and cultural wars.

The masks were called muzzles, germ shields and dirt traps. They gave people a “pig-like snout.” Some people snipped holes in their masks to smoke cigars. Others fastened them to dogs in mockery. Bandits used them to rob banks.

More than a century ago, as the 1918 influenza pandemic raged in the United States, masks of gauze and cheesecloth became the facial front lines in the battle against the virus. But as they have now, the masks also stoked political division. Then, as now, medical authorities urged the wearing of masks to help slow the spread of disease. And then, as now, some people resisted.

In 1918 and 1919, as bars, saloons, restaurants, theaters and schools were closed, masks became a scapegoat, a symbol of government overreach, inspiring protests, petitions and defiant bare-face gatherings. All the while, thousands of Americans were dying in a deadly pandemic.

The first infections were identified in March, at an Army base in Kansas, where 100 soldiers were infected. Within a week, the number of flu cases grew fivefold, and soon the disease was taking hold across the country, prompting some cities to impose quarantines and mask orders to contain it.

By the fall of 1918, seven cities — San Francisco, Seattle, Oakland, Sacramento, Denver, Indianapolis and Pasadena, Calif. — had put in effect mandatory face mask laws, said Dr. Howard Markel, a historian of epidemics and the author of “Quarantine!”

Organized resistance to mask wearing was not common, Dr. Markel said, but it was present. “There were flare-ups, there were scuffles and there were occasional groups, like the Anti-Mask League,” he said, “but that is the exception rather than the rule.”

At the forefront of the safety measures was San Francisco, where a man returning from a trip to Chicago apparently carried the virus home, according to archives about the pandemic at the University of Michigan.

By the end of October, there were more than 60,000 cases statewide, with 7,000 of them in San Francisco. It soon became known as the “masked city.”

“The Mask Ordinance,” signed by Mayor James Rolph on Oct. 22, made San Francisco the first American city to require face coverings, which had to be four layers thick.

Resisters complained about appearance, comfort and freedom, even after the flu killed an estimated 195,000 Americans in October alone.

Alma Whitaker, writing in The Los Angeles Times on Oct. 22, 1918, reviewed masks’ impact on society and celebrity, saying famous people shunned them because it was “so horrid” to go unrecognized.

“The big restaurants are the funniest sights, with all the waiters and diners masked, the latter just raising their screen to pop in a mouthful of food,” she wrote.

When Ms. Whitaker herself declined to wear one, she was “forcibly taken” to the Red Cross as a “slacker,” and ordered to make one and put it on.

The San Francisco Chronicle said the simplest type of mask was of folded gauze affixed with elastic or tape. The police went for gauze masks, which resembled an unflattering “nine ordinary slabs of ravioli arranged in a square.”

There was room for creativity. Some of the coverings were “fearsome looking machines” that lent a “pig-like aspect” to the wearer’s face.

The penalty for violators was $5 to $10, or 10 days’ imprisonment.

On Nov. 9, 1,000 people were arrested, The San Francisco Chronicle reported. City prisons swelled to standing room only; police shifts and court sessions were added to help manage.

“Where is your mask?” Judge Mathew Brady asked offenders at the Hall of Justice, where sessions dragged into night. Some gave fake names, said they just wanted to light a cigar or that they hated following laws.

Jail terms of 8 hours to 10 days were given out. Those who could not pay $5 were jailed for 48 hours.

On Oct. 28, a blacksmith named James Wisser stood on Powell and Market streets in front of a drugstore, urging a crowd to dispose of their masks, which he described as “bunk.”

A health inspector, Henry D. Miller, led him to the drugstore to buy a mask.

At the door, Mr. Wisser struck Mr. Miller with a sack of silver dollars and knocked him to the ground, The San Francisco Chronicle reported. While being “pummeled,” Mr. Miller, 62, fired four times with a revolver. Passers-by “scurried for cover,” The Associated Press said.

Mr. Wisser was injured, as were two bystanders. He was charged with disturbing the peace, resisting an officer and assault. The inspector was charged with assault with a deadly weapon.

‘To Mask or Not to Mask.’

That was the headline for a report published in The Los Angeles Times when city officials met in November to decide whether to require residents to wear “germ scarers” or “flu-scarers.”

Public feedback was invited. Some supported masks so theaters, churches and schools could operate. Opponents said masks were “mere dirt and dust traps and do more harm than good.”

“I have seen some persons wearing their masks for a while hanging about their necks, and then apply them to their faces, forgetting that they might have picked up germs while dangling about their clothes,” Dr. E.W. Fleming said in a Los Angeles Times report.

An ear, nose and throat specialist, Dr. John J. Kyle, said: “I saw a woman in a restaurant today with a mask on. She was in ordinary street clothes, and every now and then she raised her hand to her face and fussed with the mask.”

Suffragists fighting for the right to vote made a gesture that rejected covering their mouths at a time when their voices were crucial.

At the annual convention of the Illinois Equal Suffrage Association, in October 1918, they set chairs four feet apart, closed doors to the public and limited attendance to 100 delegates, the Chicago Daily Tribune reported.

But the women “showed their scorn” for masks, it said. It’s unclear why.

Allison K. Lange, an associate history professor at Wentworth Institute of Technology, said one reason could have been that they wanted to keep a highly visible profile.

“Suffragists wanted to make sure their leaders were familiar political figures,” Dr. Lange said.

San Francisco’s mask ordinance expired after four weeks at noon on Nov. 21. The city celebrated, and church bells tolled.

A “delinquent” bent on blowing his nose tore his mask off so quickly that it “nearly ruptured his ear,” The San Francisco Chronicle reported. He and others stomped on their masks in the street. As a police officer watched, it dawned on him that “his vigil over the masks was done.”

Waiters, barkeeps and others bared their faces. Drinks were on the house. Ice cream shops handed out treats. The sidewalks were strewn with gauze, the “relics of a torturous month,” The Chronicle said.

The spread had been halted. But a second wave was on the horizon.

By December, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors was again proposing a mask requirement, meeting with testy opposition.

Around the end of the year, a bomb was defused outside the office of San Francisco’s chief health officer, Dr. William C. Hassler. “Things were violent and aggressive, but it was because people were losing money,” said Brian Dolan, a medical historian at the University of California, San Francisco. “It wasn’t about a constitutional issue; it was a money issue.”

By the end of 1918, the death toll from influenza had reached at least 244,681, mostly in the last four months, according to government statistics.

In January, Pasadena’s city commission passed a mask ordinance. The police grudgingly enforced it, cracking down on cigar smokers and passengers in cars. Sixty people were arrested on the first day, The Los Angeles Times reported on Jan. 22, in an article titled “Pasadena Snorts Under Masks.”

“It is the most unpopular law ever placed on the Pasadena records,” W.S. McIntyre, the chief of police, told the paper. “We are cursed from all sides.”

Some mocked the rule by stretching gauze across car vents or dog snouts. Cigar vendors said they lost customers, though enterprising aficionados cut a hole in the cloth. (They were still arrested.) Barbers lost shaving business. Merchants complained traffic dropped as more people stayed home.

Petitions were circulated at cigar stands. Arrests rose, even of the powerful. Ernest May, the president of Security National Bank of Pasadena, and five “prominent” guests were rounded up at the Maryland Hotel one Sunday.

They had masks on, but not covering their faces.

As the contagion moved into its second year, so did the skepticism.

On Dec. 17, 1918, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors reinstituted the mask ordinance after deaths started to climb, a trend that spilled over into the new year with 1,800 flu cases and 101 deaths reported there in the first five days of January.

That board’s decision led to the creation of the Anti-Mask League, a sign that resistance to masks was resurfacing as cities tried to reimpose orders to wear them when infections returned.

The league was led by a woman, E.J. Harrington, a lawyer, social activist and political opponent of the mayor. About a half-dozen other women filled its top ranks. Eight men also joined, some of them representing unions, along with two members of the board of supervisors who had voted against masks.

“The masks turned into a political symbol,” Dr. Dolan said.

On Jan. 25, the league held its first organizational meeting, open to the public at the Dreamland Rink, where they united behind demands for the repeal of the mask ordinance and for the resignations of the mayor and health officials.

Their objections included lack of scientific evidence that masks worked and the idea that forcing people to wear the coverings was unconstitutional.

On Jan. 27, the league protested at a Board of Supervisors meeting, but the mayor held his ground. There were hisses and cries of “freedom and liberty,” Dr. Dolan wrote in his paper on the epidemic.

Repeal came a few days later on Feb. 1, when Mayor Rolph cited a downturn in infections.

But a third wave of flu rolled in late that year. The final death toll reached an estimated 675,000 nationwide, or 30 for every 1,000 people in San Francisco, making it one of the worst-hit cities in America.

Dr. Dolan said the story of the Anti-Mask League, which has drawn renewed interest now in 2020, demonstrates the disconnect between individual choice and universal compliance.

That sentiment echoes through the century from the voice of a San Francisco railway worker named Frank Cocciniglia.

Arrested on Kearny Street in January, Mr. Cocciniglia told the judge that he “was not disposed to do anything not in harmony with his feelings,” according to a Los Angeles Times report.

He was sentenced to five days in jail.

“That suits me,” Mr. Cocciniglia said as he left the stand. “I won’t have to wear a mask there.”