Parents protest school mask mandate in Tipton County

Published: Aug. 16, 2021 at 9:39 AM CDT
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TIPTON COUNTY, Tenn. (WMC) - Parents in Tipton County Schools are protesting a new mask mandate requiring face masks.

Last week, the school board reinstated the mask mandate with a 7-1-1 vote, according to the Covington Leader, and some parents aren’t happy.

Dozens of Tipton County residents, mostly parents, protested outside of the board of education’s office in Covington Monday morning.

Some parents who spoke with Action News 5 said they want the choice to decide whether their child wears a mask at school.

The revised reopening plan says masks are required as of Monday, Aug. 16 for students, staff and visitors in school buildings and on buses when social distancing is not possible. The district will provide masks as needed.

RELATED | Collierville parents protest masks in schools

“For some of us, it’s not about the mask, whether to wear the mask or not wear the mask. It’s about our freedoms and our rights as humans,” said Ashley McCaskill.

McCaskill is the mother of elementary-aged children. She says if it were up to her, she would not make them wear a mask at school. But as a nurse, she has decided to wear one herself.

“I’m a health care professional. This is a surgical mask. I am exposed to people who in the community have COVID. To protect others, I’m wearing my mask to keep my germs to myself,” McCaskill said.

During last Thursday’s school board meeting, School Health Coordinator Sherri Yarbro said some children have contracted COVID-19 at home and over a hundred are currently quarantined.

Baptist-Tipton Hospital Administrator Parker Harris explained that more children in Tipton County are being impacted by the Delta variant.

“We’re seeing over 15 percent of the newly active positive cases are in the 18 or under category,” Harris said during the meeting.

However, some protesters feel children shouldn’t have to cover their faces.

“It dehumanizes us to have a mask on our face. We’re not a human anymore,” said Tipton County resident Charlotte Quick.

Lara Hoffman says she is a licensed psychiatrist. She attended the protest because she is concerned about how masks will affect children socially.

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