Amongst the absurd debate against universal masking in local schools, I don’t buy the argument that parents should have the final say. School personnel set the rules for what happens in their buildings. They decide on such things as dress codes, banning foul language and what to serve for lunch.

Also, parents don’t have the right to harm their children. They can’t leave their kids in hot cars, can’t physically abuse them, and shouldn’t be allowed to have their children unprotected against a highly contagious deadly disease, or have their kids be able to spread and infect other people with that virus.

Not to be overlooked are the students at North Dakota State University and the University of North Dakota, who have signed a preposterous petition to stop the mask mandate at those two universities. Those students are selfish and ignorant. Let’s hope they aren’t science majors.

At UND, the nonsensical petition is led by student and State Rep. Claire Cory. Her petition falsely claims that masks are not effective at slowing the spread of COVID-19. We will never get past this pandemic, as long as people such as Cory spread bogus and dangerous information.

The exit plan from Afghanistan was an enormous blunder. We should have evacuated American citizens and our loyal Afghan helpers before removing American troops. It’s heartbreaking to see the American soldiers and Afghans killed by terrorists, and to inexcusably see we’re leaving some Americans and Afghan friends behind.

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Beyond that, I’m not convinced we needed to fully leave. Having an American presence there, prevented people living in Afghanistan from staging terrorist attacks against the U.S. Also, before the terrorist attack at the airport, no American soldier had been killed in Afghanistan in more than one year. The U.S. has troops in dozens of countries, such as Germany, South Korea, Iraq, Syria and Saudi Arabia. We’re not leaving from there. So, why not have some troops in Afghanistan to maintain some semblance of stability and atrocity prevention?

The sentencing of South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg was a travesty. After pleading guilty to two low-level misdemeanors, all Ravensborg has to do is pay $4,000 in fines. His careless and reckless driving caused the death of pedestrian Joe Boever. Ravnsborg should have received some jail time.

Now that the North Dakota Legislature has passed a bill saying it’s OK for public school districts in the state to post the Ten Commandments, it will be interesting to see if any districts do that. If they do, they will almost certainly be challenged in the courts. If/when that happens, Sen. Janne Myrdal, R-Edinburg, and the other legislators who pushed for this unconstitutional bill, should have to pay the legal fees of the school districts.

Good to see more refugees will be coming to North Dakota and Minnesota. It’s the humane thing to do, and we desperately need the workers.

Just wondering why so many people who call themselves pro-life are against masks and vaccines.

Click here for more from columnist Jim Shaw.

Shaw is a former WDAY TV reporter and former KVRR TV news director. Email

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.