Minnesota Surgeon Fired After Speaking Out At School Board Meeting Against Mask Mandates

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Chrissy Clark Education Reporter
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A Minnesota surgeon was terminated after speaking at a public school board meeting where he called for the district to allow parents to decide whether their child wears a mask to school.

Dr. Jeffrey Horak spoke to the Fergus Falls school board on Oct. 11 about the district’s new mask mandate that went into effect one day before, Fox News reported. Horak offered a religious argument for why parents should opt their child into wearing masks in school buildings or not.

“Who does God put in charge of these kids? Their parents. God gave each one of these kids … to their parents and they speak for them. They may be wrong, they may be dumb, they may be perfect in their decisions,” Horak said. “But it’s still their responsibility. It’s not yours … Honor their wishes, either side of the fence.”

Nine days after he spoke out at the Fergus Falls board meeting, he was told to either resign or be terminated from his job with the Lake Region Healthcare system.

In a public statement, Horak said that he was told his views “were no longer congruent” with those of Lake Region Healthcare. He claims he was not given a reason nor was he aware of any complaints lodged against him.

“We live in America where freedoms are held close. I am a man who believes individuals have the right to do their research and decide what is best for them and their children when it comes to their health,” Horak said.

The president of the Medical Group Board, Dr. Greg Smith, told Fox News that Horak’s separation was a “confidential matter.”

“To be clear, this was a decision that was made by Dr. Horak’s peers who serve on the Medical Group Board, not by Lake Region Healthcare, the community-based hospital where Dr. Horak practiced General Surgery,” Smith said.

The mask mandate in Fergus Falls will be instituted for two weeks and ends on Oct. 24, according to Fox News. (RELATED: Florida Education Board Sanctions Schools With Mask Mandates)

Parents in the Fergus Falls area and nurses in the Lake Region Healthcare system have rallied behind Horak. According to a local news outlet, nurses said they are “fearful” that speaking out will leave them jobless.

“We would be willing to speak up if we were not fearful that our jobs would be in jeopardy for expressing our First Amendment Rights,” they said.

Parents have hosted anti-mask mandate rallies and cheered on Horak for speaking out against them.

Fergus Falls school district said that it “welcomes public comment” in light of the mandates.