WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — Hundreds of parents attended the Williamson County School Board meeting Tuesday night where a roughly four-hour debate took place over the district’s mask policy.  

The board voted 7-to-3 to pass a temporary mask mandate for elementary school students, staff, and visitors.

The mandate begins August 12 and will go through September 21st at 11:59 p.m. Masks will be required when inside all elementary schools and on busses.

Although the meeting was well attended, only 30 people were allowed to speak publicly to the board.

Hundreds of parents who didn’t fit inside the auditorium stayed outside the board meeting shouting “no more masks” during a heated protest.

“I definitely think it should be our parent’s decision. There is a very small fraction of people at school that actually are wearing a mask and so I think not wearing a mask speaks for itself,” a student said.

The temporary mandate does allow medical and religious exemptions and will allow teachers to remove masks when teaching from at least six feet away.

“I think that it’s important to keep children safe. I don’t think that that’s controversial. Everybody want to keep their kids safe,” a parent said.

“The real part of the clown show is that you all think you actually have the authority to mandate this. Because there are these books that I have, and I have them as a gift for you, the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, The Bill of Rights,  and the Federalist Papers. Also the Bible. And these guarantee my freedom and yours and our children’s to breathe oxygen,” a parent said.

“The delta variant will spread in our schools like wildfire. There is risk to children. We are seeing it already in our country and in our state,” a parent said.

The board will re-visit the mask discussion at next month’s board meeting. The mandate does not apply to Williamson County middle and high schools.