WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — On Tuesday night, the Williamson County school board voted to approve a temporary mask mandate for elementary students since they are not eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.
Emotions and tensions ran high during the four-hour long meeting. But eventually the board was able to make a decision for the start of the upcoming year.
The board said it would accept religious or medical exemptions if parents applied.
On Tuesday, Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles posted to his Facebook page a message for Williamson County parents. Ogles said that he would “gladly sign your child’s religious exemption for mandatory masks in school.”
The post sparked controversy following the Williamson County decision.
“No mask mandates. No vaccine mandates,” Ogles said. “I’ve had some pastors reach out to me as well willing to sit down with anyone who needs to have that conversation to have someone sign off on their beliefs.”
Ogles believes it’s an infringement on our rights and liberties to mandate masks or vaccines in schools, government, or businesses.
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A Williamson County schools spokesperson told News 2 that the form only needs to be filled out by the parent or guardian of the student. But on the religious exemption form, it cites that it’s a Class A misdemeanor to commit perjury.
“I can also marry individuals, so why would this be any different? And keep in mind, the government’s standard for religion, it’s across all religions. So, there’s no test for are you Christian enough,” Ogles said.
Williamson County schools will provide a mask to students without one, and if necessary, will contact the parent to enforce the mandate.
Ogles is also calling for a special session to evaluate Governor Bill Lee’s “abuses of power” during the COVID-19 state of emergency. On Wednesday, House Republicans backed Speaker Cameron Sexton’s push for a special session to address mask mandates.