Despite Governor Glenn Youngkin issuing a mandate to schools around the state to not enforce mask mandates on children, the Frederick County (Virginia) Public School decided to continue illegally upholding the mandate. Now they’re paying for their hubris as parents are taking the fight to the school board.
Footage from a recent school board meeting showed that parents meant business. As the meeting was set to wrap up, a man approached the dais where the school board sat and began handing out subpoenas. With the understanding of what was happening dawning on them, the school board members attempted to gather their things and leave but the parents weren’t having it.
“You broke the law and now we’re coming after you guys,” said one angry parent. “You broke the law this week, then you stand up there and run your mouth about things.”
One member, Brian Hester, made a quick exit, ignoring the papers being served to him as angry parents called after him to come back.
Parents serve members of Virginia board over mask mandates 🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/jGHM8JCI8O
— Libs of Tik Tok (@libsoftiktok) February 7, 2022
According to The Northern Virginia Daily, Hester, along with Bradley Comstock, Ellen White, and Michael Lake, all voted to defy Youngkin’s mandate in a 4-3 vote. Brandon Monk, Miles Adkins, and Linda Martin voted against the move.
The executive order issued by Youngkin dictates that school boards were no longer allowed to decide whether or not children should wear masks, and leaves that up to the parents. In Frederick County, children were being treated differently if they refused to wear a mask, with numerous parents claiming their child was intimidated or threatened:
Riddell-Bellido said her child has not been back to school since Jan. 25, as he would not wear a mask. She accused some teachers of intimidating students into wearing masks and said that children who have not complied with the mask mandate had been bullied on social media.
“These children are receiving threats, they’re being told that they stink and they need to get out of the school to make the school smell better,” she said. “They’re being told they’re selfish, and education is being withheld. They’re not being given an education while they’re in these isolated places.”
Numerous other parents in the lawsuit allege that their children are being intimidated and threatened by teachers and students. They compared the separation of masked and unmasked children to “segregation” and said the unmasked students are being treated as outcasts. In addition, many parents wrote in the documents accompanying the lawsuit that the masks limit expression, hinder learning and ultimately distract from schoolwork.
The lawsuit also claims that religious or medical exemptions have not been recognized or granted. Moreover, school administrators have ignored students’ medical directives for exemptions by claiming the directives given by doctors were based on “unfounded cause.” Parents argue this violates Virginia Code 54.1-2902, practicing medicine without a license.
The lawsuit also mentions the mask mandates being focused on money, with $10.7 million being given through the American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund grant, which requires mask mandates for K-12 children in order to receive it.
Ridell-Bellido called out the school board on this, saying they were “utilizing our children as pawns to keep federal funding coming in.”
“I’d never in a million years would think in our lifetime that this would be a fight that we’d be fighting,” she later added. “More than that, never in my lifetime did I think that this will be a fight our children have to fight.”
Frederick County isn’t the only place where parents are making sure they’re the ones in charge of their own children. Loudoun County School Board is also being sued by parents over the mask requirement as well.