Parental ignorance spreading in wake of Ebola stories

Parents without a clue are calling the shots as the Ebola virus continues not spreading in the United States.

In Maine, parents complained after a teacher visited Dallas for a professional seminar that has nothing to do with Ebola and wasn’t remotely connected to Dallas Presbyterian Hospital, the place where the one Ebola fatality in the United States occurred.

The school superintendent whiffed on the opportunity to ask parents, “are you out of your mind?” and suspended the teacher instead.

“The staff member understand the parents’ concerns,” School Administrative District 58 posted on its website. “Therefore, after several discussions with the staff member, out of an abundance of caution, this staff member has been placed on a paid leave of absence for up to 21 days.”

“What the parents were saying last night is that, you sent (this teacher) to a potentially harmful area for exposure, and then come back and jump into the classroom on Monday seemed a little bit reckless,” Matt Dexter, a parent, told a school board meeting last week.

“I’m really tired of people telling everyone, on the news, starting at the national level, ‘zero risk, low risk,’” he said. “The bottom line is that there is risk. Are we more capable of handling this than Africa? Sure, but why walk around blind and jam people into hot spots we can’t control? It all comes down to personal responsibility.”

“This is sort of comparable to when people were killed in terror attacks,” Roxane Cohen Silver, a professor of psychology in the department of psychology and social behavior at the University of California, Irvine, tells the New York Times today.

Silver studied reactions after the Boston Marathon bombing and found “individuals who were exposed to a great deal of media within the first week reported more acute stress than did people who were actually at the marathon,” she said.

Related: Local Liberians rally to defeat Ebola fears (Star Tribune).

America's Fears of Immigration, Terrorism, and Ebola Are Combining Into a Supercluster of Anxiety (Slate).