MT. JULIET, Tenn. (WKRN) – Wilson County parents are taking their frustrations to the streets, protesting against the continued mask mandate inside the school district.
“He does after school programming and so it would be wearing it for 12 hours a day, and I was just like ‘that’s just, this is crazy to expect a child to wear a mask 12 hours a day,'” said Maurisa Pasick, one of the protest organizers whose child attends school within the Wilson County school district.
On Wednesday, parents and community leaders gathered outside of Mt. Juliet Middle School, holding signs in protest against a mask mandate for students who continue to attend in-person learning. As Wilson County school buses drove pass, cheers could be heard from inside the bus, some students waving their masks out the window.
Pasick says it’s an everyday struggle with her 13-year old son. Wondering if other parents had a similar concern, she posed the question on Facebook and was shocked by the response.
“I had messages from parents, teachers, students, you name it, that was all like ‘yes, we’re so sick of these masks what can we do,'” Pasick said.
Parents are asking for the school district to allow each individual family to decide whether or not to send their student to school with a mask, no matter their vaccination status. The debate comes after Governor Bill Lee ordered counties to remove the mandates.
“We would never tell somebody that they can’t wear a mask because we are mask choice. If you feel like that’s what’s best for you then that’s fine, wear the mask, but to force that fear or that control, or that loss of fresh air onto somebody else, I think is just wrong,” Pasick explained.
In a statement given to WKRN by the Wilson County School Board, they say the district “will continue to follow the guidance of the CDC and of the Tennessee Department of Education, both of which recommend wearing masks in the school setting.”
Pasick says she is hopeful the district will change its policy before the fall semester. Creating a petition online, Pasick, along with other parents, have made plans to attend school board meetings in order to convince the board to amend the decision.
Full Statement from Wilson County School District:
“We understand that there is confusion regarding the local school board’s authority to require facial coverings in school. Pursuant to authority granted by Executive Orders 80 and 77(B)(13)(d), local school districts are still able to make policies aligned to their local communities. We will continue to follow the guidance of the CDC and of the Tennessee Department of Education, both of which recommend wearing masks in the school setting. We will continue to work with families and consider feedback as the school year comes to an end.”