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Leon County School Board meeting gets heated over masks

Posted at 11:08 AM, Jul 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-28 11:08:55-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — The debate over masks and quarantine got heated at the Leon County School Board meeting Tuesday with one man being escorted out after responding to an object being thrown at him.

It was standing room only at the board meeting, where leaders decided to keep masks optional, but strongly encouraged. Concerned parents showed up in droves to state their opinions on wearing masks in school this fall.

More than 40 parents signed up to voice concerns about wearing masks in school, many of them also opposed to a proposed two-tiered approach to quarantine.

Chiles High School student John Reddick, taking a stand for optional masks.

"If you want to wear a mask, wear a mask. Just do what makes you feel happy, but others should not be required to do what you believe is right," Reddick said.

While many of those opposed showed up to speak, others we spoke with say they’d like to see the district adhere to CDC recommendations.

"I think it's imperative that we have all of the children masking not just because it's the advice of the CDC, but because it's just the right and common sense thing to do," said Lorinne Myatt, an LCS parent.

According to a statement provided today from LCS, “ the Leon County Schools InClass Back to School Plan calls for masks to be optional.

After staying mum on masks for several weeks, Superintendent Rocky Hanna says he sticks by his June 11 decision to make masks optional.

"If this board would like to reverse or take other action on this decision, that's certainly your prerogative," Hanna said.

For now, the board upholds optional masks according to their new InClass policy, requiring unvaccinated students to quarantine for 10 days after exposure.

Vaccinated students would only have to show proof of vaccination.

It's a distinction Lance Kerwin and others say is discriminatory.

"We're going to give a benefit to those that vaccinate and punish those that don't," said Kerwin. "I'm sorry, you are discriminating if you accept this, and you're going to have to be able to sleep at night and think about that."

The new policy is effective immediately, though leaders advise parents to remember that it is subject to change with new COVID guidelines.

Classes are currently scheduled to begin on August 12.