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Union County teenager creates petition to require masks in schools

Colton Hamilton, 15, should be relaxing on his family beach vacation just one week before the first day of school but instead he says he’s worried.
Published: Aug. 16, 2021 at 5:52 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 16, 2021 at 9:11 PM EDT
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UNION COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - A Union County high schooler is taking his family’s safety into his own hands. The 15-year-old created a petition asking for Union County Public Schools to require masks this school year.

Colton Hamilton, 15, should be relaxing on his family beach vacation just one week before the first day of school but instead he says he’s worried.

“I haven’t even been in my high school. But I’m trying to protect my little sisters and keep them safe,” he said.

He spent his freshman year learning inside his house. He’s ready to go back to school but wants his community and family to be safe. Hamilton has a nine-year-old sister and a baby sister at the home. That’s why he decided to create this petition a few weeks ago.

“I don’t want next week to be all bad with the Delta variant everywhere, getting everybody really sick,” he said. “I made this petition safe and to keep people at home safe.”

The petition calls for Union County Public Schools to reverse its decision and require masks for students and staff at the beginning of the year. UCPS’ first days of school is next Monday.

The petition has nearly 3,000 signatures but Hamilton isn’t confident things will change.

“I don’t think anything’s going to happen. The school board, we saw what happened last year. They progressively got rid of the COVID rules,” he said. “I personally don’t think anything will change.”

WBTV News reached out to Union County Public Schools, a spokesperson said no new information as of now on masks. The next time masks will be discussed will be on September 7th, three weeks after the first day of school.

“I want them the Board of Ed members to see me and think one of their students, they’re supposed to keep safe, is speaking out.”

Although Colton’s vaccinated and will wear a mask at school, he’s nervous about the other students and the potential spread of the coronavirus.

“It’s important to protect my little sister. She’s really sweet. I don’t want her to get COVID. My pediatrician says COVID may be worse in babies and I don’t want to take that risk.”

Colton isn’t just doing this for his family. He also thinks requiring masks will make it so less students need to quarantine if there is an outbreak, and more students will be able to stay inside the classroom.

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