Parents at a Franklin, Tennessee county school board meeting protested a mask mandate announced Tuesday night, according to multiple sources.
The Williamson County Board of Education approved new mask requirements that will begin Thursday and last through at least Sept. 21, according to a statement from the school district. The new mask rules require all students, staff and visitors at the elementary grade levels to wear face coverings in all buildings and on buses.
The mandate permits teachers who socially distance at least six feet to remove their masks, but it encourages middle and high school students to wear face coverings, the statement said. (RELATED: Catholic School Says Mask Mandate ‘Cover God’s Image,’ Violate Religious Liberty In Lawsuit)
Parents and community members expressed anger about the new rule outside the meeting on Thursday night. A video shows people chanting “We will not comply!” and “No more masks!”
One man yelled at a mask supporter, saying “We know who you are” and “You’ll never be allowed in public again,” while another man told a mask supporter that there is a place in hell for him. Another man is seen on video yelling, “You can leave freely, but we will find you.”
The school district acknowledged the parents’ displeasure with the new rule but condemned the “incivility” seen at the protest, according to Carol Birdsong, the executive director of communications for the school district, NBC News reported.
“Our families and staff represent a wide variety of thoughts and beliefs, and it is important in our district that all families and staff have the opportunity to be represented and respected,” Birdsong said in a statement obtained by NBC.
The school district did not respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
Both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that all children should wear masks at school this fall, according to NBC.
Parents in favor of and against the mask mandate spoke during the public meeting Tuesday night.
Parents who disagree with the new rule argued that it is unlawful to require masks and that decisions about whether or not to wear a mask should not come in the form of a mandate from a school district board.
“Parents should be allowed to choose what they want and how their children go to school,” David Grimmett said.
“At the end of the day, I see these people with the masks. They believe it is best for their children. I believe it is not. I should be given the choice,” he added, according to NBC.
Disney Channel actress Leigh-Allyn Baker was in attendance and argued against the mask mandate saying her child could not get vaccinated due to medical exemptions.
“Anyway, the real part of the clown show is that you all think that you actually have the authority to mandate this,” Baker said.
“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,” she added.
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