After Arkansas mask bills fail, what’s next?

Published: Aug. 5, 2021 at 6:44 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - After two days of debates, two bills filed to amend a ban on masks in Arkansas schools have failed to make it out of committee.

Both House Bills 10-03 and 10-04 would have allowed school boards to implement a mask requirement in Arkansas schools in need.

Lawmakers heard from several residents for and against the bill.

“I’m here to respectfully ask you to help us protect our kids this year, let us protect all the kids who are similarly situated,” said Arkansas mom, Casey Green.

“I am very much against masking our children, I think it’s violence against the children,” Nurse Pamela Burnt said to lawmakers.

The effort to allow masks in classrooms comes on the heels of the death of 11-year-old Jordyn Franklin of West Memphis who died from complications of COVID-19.

“She was loved, and she loved big and had a heart of gold -- didn’t meet a stranger and loved everybody,” said Jordyn’s Aunt, Kirsten Clark.

Clark says Jordyn was diabetic.

She now encourages everyone to follow proper safety protocols.

Marion School District Superintendent Glen Fenter spent the past two days lobbying for the bill as more than 800 students and staff in his district are quarantined.

The Marion School District along with Little Rock’s School District have filed a lawsuit against the state arguing the law violates Arkansas’ constitution.

“I am confident that as other Arkansas communities begin to experience the same issues there will be some action taken in Arkansas. I can’t tell you exactly what that action will look like,” Fenter said.

Clark says she hopes action is taken sooner rather than later.

“This can happen to anybody at any age and the seriousness of the virus is real,” she said.

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