Parent Group Calls For Mask Mandate In Schools To End Now; Opponent Says Just Wait A Few Days; Vote To End Masks Now Fails 5-3

Thursday, May 13, 2021

A group carrying signs and shouting slogans told members of the County School Board on Thursday night they want a school mask mandate to end now.

Supt. Bryan Johnson earlier said on June 1 - a couple of weeks away - staff and students are not required to wear masks to ward off the coronavirus.

A vote by the board to end the mask mandate now failed in a 5-3 vote. Joe Smith, Steve Highlander and Rhonda Thurman voted to end it. Joe Wingate, Tiffanie Robinson, Tucker McClendon, Marco Perez and Jenny Hill voted for the mask requirement to continue to June 1.

A leader of the protest group said, "That's not good enough. It should be parents' choice starting today."

She said studies have shown that masks don't help prevent the virus spread, and she said wearing masks throughout the school day "causes mental stress" to students.

She said there were a hundred fellow protestors outside the board meeting room on Hickory Valley Road. 

At one point some of the protestors began banging on the door. Board Chairman Joe Wingate then got up to investigate.

Justin Wilkins took the other side, saying masks protect children from those who may come to school ill.

He said masks have allowed schools and businesses to stay open.

Mr. Wilkins asked, "Can we all not wait a few more days?"

 


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