News and Commentary

Surgeon Loses Job After Telling School Board To Let Parents Decide On Masking Kids
A demonstrator holds a sign protesting against mask mandates during a school board meeting for the Jefferson County Public Schools district in Louisville, Kentucky, U.S., on Tuesday, July 27, 2021. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that teachers, staff, students and visitors to K-12 schools wear masks indoors regardless of vaccination status, according to guidance released today. Photographer: Jon Cherry/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Jon Cherry/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A surgeon in Minnesota who told the local school board that parents should be the ones to decide whether their children wear masks has been fired from his job.

Dr. Jeffrey Horak appeared before the Fergus Falls school board on October 11, where he told officials that masks should not be ordered, but rather voluntary.

“You mandate this across the road — that’s a tough place to go,” Horak told the board, according to Fox News.

“Who does God put in charge of these kids? Their parents. God gave each one of these kids… to their parents and they speak for them. They may be wrong, they may be dumb, they may be imperfect in their decisions. But it’s still their responsibility. It’s not yours. God gave it to them. Honor their wishes, either side of the fence,” the surgeon reportedly said.

A little more than a week after Horak’s comments, he says he was told his “views were no longer congruent with that of Lake Region Healthcare.” His superiors there said he could resign or be terminated.

“We live in America where freedoms are held close. I am a man who believes individuals have the right to do their research and decide what is best for them and their children when it comes to their health. I don’t believe governments or institutions should dictate that,” Horak said in a public statement on October 23.

“A spokesperson for Lake Region Healthcare deferred questions to Lake Region Medical Group, saying that the ‘Medical Group Board made the decision about discontinuing Dr. Horak’s practice, not LRH,'” Fox reported.

Dr. Greg Smith, president of the Medical Group Board, said members made the “decision to discontinue Dr. Jeff Horak’s employment contract after a thorough review process.”

“The reasons for Dr. Horak’s separation are a confidential matter,” Dr. Smith said in a statement provided to Fox News on Tuesday. “To be clear, this was a decision that was made by Dr. Horak’s peers who serve on the Medical Group Board, not by Lake Region Healthcare, the community-based hospital where Dr. Horak practiced General Surgery.”

Residents in Fergus Falls have supported Horak, and on Monday hundreds gathered at a local park where he spoke. Some carried signs that said “I stand with Dr. Horak,” “We need medical freedom,” and “Dr. Horak = moral strength.”

“This isn’t a conservative vs. liberal, or vaxed vs. unvaxed, or mask vs. no mask issue,” Angie Brown, a local resident who organized the rally, told Fox News on Tuesday. “This is an issue of right vs. wrong and I am so happy that so many in our community recognized this wrong and were willing to show up, both to support Dr. Horak, but to also, in a peaceful way, voice their disagreement with Lake Region Medical Group.”

Horak addressed the crowd, saying: “One, you’re becoming aware that your freedoms are being taken away. Two, professionals such as myself are being silenced, and then so are you. If it happens to me, it can happen to all of us. And third, you’re afraid. We’re all afraid. Today I want to empower you to say, ‘I stand up with Dr. Horak. Truly, I stand with you.”

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