‘No more masks’: Parents fight mask mandate at heated Iredell-Statesville school board meeting

Updated: May. 10, 2021 at 10:36 PM EDT
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IREDELL COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - Dozens of angry parents are fighting against the required mask mandate for their students in Iredell County.

Parents packed the Iredell County School Board meeting Monday evening.

In a heated debate, those parents think their children wearing masks for eight hours a day is unnecessary.

Some parents picketed outside, with signs saying, “My child, my choice.”

Inside the Iredell-Statesville School Board, exchanges became heated.

Parents chanted, “No more masks! No more masks!”

Passions in the crowd quickly went from disappointed to angry to enraged.

“You have to take it off or it never ends,” a parent said.

Dozens of parents crowded into the Iredell-Statesville School Board, many not wearing protective face coverings, to voice their frustrations about the continuing mask mandate policy they say is detrimental to their children.

“The pandemic is over, the teachers are vaccinated,” a parent said. “So why are our children continuing to wear masks.”'

“These are communist tactics and it’s not OK,” a parent said.

Parents say it is harmful to force students to wear masks up to eight hours a day in the classroom, and especially harmful if those same students have to wear them after school for extracurricular activities.

Many complained the use of masks during sporting events could have dire consequences to their children.

“The first night of basketball tryout he came home face red worn down and on the brink of having a panic attack,” a parent said.

“One of my friends, she was in P.E. and she was running and her fingers turned blue because she had a mask on,” a student said.

There were some on the board who sympathized and even agreed with parents on the issue.

“I believe a year ago this past March, the government threw the Bill of Rights out the door,” said board member Bill Howell.

Doug Knight, who also sits on the board, tried to explain the reason the mandate is in place is because board members open themselves up to civil liability if someone contracts the virus after the board discontinues the mask rule.

“I’m going to tell you straight up, I fear my wife more than I fear any of you,” Knight said. “Because if I lose my house over this? I’ve got no home for that.”

And when some in the crowd said he should lose his house, that didn’t go over well with the board member.

“You don’t even know where I live, woman,” Knight said.

While the board didn’t discuss the matter Monday, many who read the room feel this issue isn’t going away anytime soon.

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