Mishawaka parents debate mask mandate at school board meeting
MISHAWAKA, Ind. --- The debate over a mask mandate in Mishawaka schools reaching a boiling point Wednesday night at a school board meeting - after several parents were denied entry for refusing to wear masks.
“You guys are supposed to be educating our kids. Not trying to muscle them and teaching them to follow blind rules," said parents who were denied entry.
Many of those parents took to the streets earlier in the day to protest the newly enforced mandate that went into effect this past Monday.
"The biggest frustration is that they say they can’t breathe. They have to wear it all day everyday. I mean surgeons don’t even wear their masks for an entire surgery if it’s over 2 hours, but our kids are forced to," said Joshua Tavernier, a Mishawaka Schools parent who's against the mandate.
Lauren Gaskill a mother of two says she disagrees --- because she almost switched her daughter who suffers from asthma into private school for her safety.
“She has on her own insisted on wearing 2 masks a day. I picked her up today she was wearing 3. But, she gets somewhat irritated when people say that they can’t breathe in masks," said Gaskill, a Mishawaka schools parent who's for the mandate.
The district initially started the school year off with masks being optional - which was the reason Gaskill almost removed her daughter, but she says while she doesn’t feel comfortable with no mandate at this time she would be open to it changing in the future.
“To me the only reason that that should change per the school is if the community numbers are low. Which I would support if they were low enough where it wouldn’t be highly transmissible," said Gaskill.
For Tavernier he feels the decision should be a personal choice even voicing his opinions to board member holly parks and he says he will continue to rally with other parents who feel the same as him until a change is made.
“If they don’t change it we have other options that are available to us that we will be doing. I’ve sent out mass emails to parents that are against the masks. They know what needs to be done. They know the next step if it’s not changed," said Tavernier.
The district did not reverse the mandate at the meeting and some parents are planning to host a walkout against it this Friday.