“You can go freely, but we’ll find you and we know who you are,” said one man in a video captured by reporter Matt Masters.
“You will never be allowed in public again,” said another man, as a nearby crowd chanted, “Don’t comply! “And” No more masks! “
The police had to hold back the crowd.
“MPs told me to stay indoors for my own safety because I was wearing a mask,” NewsChannel5 reporter Kelsey Gibbs wrote of the experience. “I’ve covered stories where I feared for my safety, but a school board meeting on mask warrants was a first. “
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The outrage was in response to a Tuesday night meeting of the Williamson County School Board, which voted 7-3 to require masks for all students and teachers at the district elementary school level, which resumed classes last week and where most students are not of age to be vaccinated. The county, one of the richest in the country, previously had a mask mandate, which it dropped at the end of the previous school year as Covid cases declined.
Although many parents have testified to how desperately they wanted a mask warrant, and school board president Nancy Garrett said she received twice as many emails in favor of a warrant as against, from hysterics Similar drowned their comments.
A man in a blue coat, who is said to be a nurse at a Nashville-area hospital, interrupted the procedure and was escorted outside by lawmakers, where he falsely told Tennessee Holler: “There is no pandemic ”and“ The masks do not work. “
A woman inside the meeting threatened to sue the school board and held up a sign saying, “I don’t care what you vote – my kids will be as masked as an Obama birthday”, a reference to the former president’s recent controversial birthday party on Martha’s Vineyard.
Since the school district resumed classes on Friday, 25 children have tested positive for Covid. State health officials recently warned that pediatric cases almost doubled in July, reflecting national trends, where doctors in low vaccination areas say they are seeing increasing levels of young Covid patients during the Delta surge.
“It’s scary, especially for kids who don’t quite understand what’s going on. They are hungry for air, struggling to breathe, and it’s just scary, ”said Dr. Kelechi Iheagwara, medical director of the pediatric intensive care unit at Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital in Baton recently. Red, Louisiana. told NBC News. “You have the disease, the fear, they can’t breathe, they’re isolated – it’s hard for anyone to understand, but can you imagine what that is for a child? “
The Tennessee school board, even with these grim realities, has limited ability to enforce public health guidelines. His mask mandate allows religious and medical exemptions from the rule, and officials said they would not ask parents follow-up questions if they request a waiver. And a state policy change in April means the school cannot go back distance education if cases increase.
Although a Kaiser Family Foundation poll on Wednesday found that 63% of parents of school-aged children support mask mandates for unvaccinated students, the coronavirus has been deeply politicized in Tennessee, which voted overwhelmingly. for Donald Trump in 2020.
Less than the half of the population received even one vaccine injection, more than 10% less than the national average. The governor of the state has bans counties from extending mask terms, while Republican U.S. Senator from Tennessee Marsha Blackburn applauded anti-mask protesters on her Twitter as “common sense,” even though the CDC recommends universal masks be worn in schools.