At the beginning of October, Political.tips broke the exclusive story regarding Governor Steve Sisolak's meeting with members of the state's health and safety teams relating to the possibility of a Covid-19 Vaccine mandate for Nevada's K-12 school age population. While the notion of such a decree was derided as far fetched at the time as no vaccine had been approved for use on children under 12, since then the FDA has given Pfizer-BioNTech emergency use authorization for their vaccine formula to be administered to youth as young as 5 years old.
In the interim, just one day prior to FDA approval of the pediatric shot, a vote took place among the Clark County School District Board of Trustees to remove Jesus Jara as the District's Superintendent. The ensuing controversy over his dismissal led Trustee Katie Williams to make several statements indicating that Dr. Jara was opposed to the potential executive office mandate stating in one interview "Jara stood up to vaccine mandates, Jara said we aren't penetrating those kids."
It seemed as though with Superintendent's dismissal, Trustee Williams claims were simply another attempt to manufacture outrage among her base, however an unforeseen change in circumstances placed a shined a bright light on the conservative Trustee's claims.
A stunning decision by the CCSD Board of Trustees to reconsider Dr. Jara's termination, has parents, teachers and the county's residents scrambling to figure out what a resumption of a Jara led administration would look like. And to some parents no bigger battle awaited them, no choice graver, than being forced to make the choice between complying with the Governor's directive or removing their kids from the District.
Dr. Jara's documented history of encouraging mass vaccination drives, including working with CCSD Board President Linda Cavazos to push for 100 million vaccines in the first 100 days of the Biden Administration taking office, set off fierce skepticism among those who would normally be inclined to support an administrator otherwise aligned with their values.
Political.tips reached out to Dr. Jara directly several times in the days after his dismissal, but while he declined to discuss any of our questions on record, multiple people familiar with his thinking were willing to speak out.
One of those, a professional who in interacting with the Superintendent on a daily basis says they have come to know what guides his professional thought process, chalked up his willingness to take part in the January, 2021 vaccine push as being driven by the immense patriotism that surrounded "Operation Warp Speed," and the desire to see adults who voluntarily wanted to take the newly available shot to have the opportunity to do so.
"Dr. Jara is a patriot. He loves this country and all its freedom. That's what drives him. He's a man who loves America and wants us to beat this thing, but not at the cost of losing our greatness in the process. Making kids take the vaccine? Making them? Never."
Another person, this one close to enough to Dr. Jara that they have discussed his future directly with him including what he should do if given the opportunity to return to his position, made Jara's view on the matter clear.
"If Jesus goes back there, what's to stop him from pushing back against those he disagrees with or pushing through anything he believes in? In response to the question you asked him here's the answer. He does not believe in mandating vaccinations for kids. That's it. Hard stop. Parental choice. Parental freedom. Those are his values. And mandating a vaccine runs counter to those core beliefs."
When reached for a follow up to our previous interview and her social media statements relating to Dr. Jara and the Governor's plan, Trustee Williams was succinct.
"I'm fighting for kids. I support Jara because he is too. Everyone who supports kids knows parents make the best choices, not some communist Governor."
Board President Linda Cavazos did not reply to a request for a statement.
One official did however.
As someone familiar with the the process of vaccination implementation for school districts in the state, they had this to say when asked about a return by Dr. Jara, and his ability to stop anything from being brought into effect if implemented under the authorization of emergency Covid decree.
"If it's a state mandate whoever is superintendent will have to follow it, even Jesus Jara."
Whether Clark County will bear witness to a battle between a returning, and presumably more powerful, Superintendent and Nevada's Governor is yet to be seen. Now though the battle lines and contrasting philosophies embraced by these two titanic personalities have been, at last, clearly delineated.