Parents protest district’s mask mandate

Published: Sep. 7, 2021 at 10:13 PM CDT
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - There’s a push to lift the mask mandate at the Valley View School District.

Several parents signed a petition demanding the change, which sparked much discussion at Tuesday night’s school board meeting.

The board said they will take into consideration everyone’s feedback into consideration before making a final decision.

“Some opponents of the mask argue that the masks are causing students to become depressed and suicidal,” said Samuel Craigmore, a high school senior. “But, as someone who buried his grandfather on Friday after a five-month-long battle with COVID, I can assure you the alternative is far worse.”

Dozens of people voiced their opinions, including parents who believe that masks are not effective.

“Don’t cram it down our throat because we don’t want to wear the masks, we don’t believe it’s right,” said Seth Pickle, the parent of a Valley View student. “And I don’t believe there’s data to support it. I can’t find any of it.”

Members of the medical community also had their say, delivering a familiar message: If everyone does not mask up, we will not be able to have school safely.

“I don’t like wearing masks. I hate wearing masks. I hate that my wife has to wear one. I hate that my kids have to wear one, but we do it,” said Dr. Shane Speights, medical director for the City of Jonesboro. “We suck it up. We suck it up every day, and we wear the masks because it’s the right thing to do to protect them and those around us.”

Both Superintendent Bryan Russell and board president Todd Reed declined to make a statement but say they may have a decision by the Oct. 4 meeting.

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