TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — About 30 people showed up during Tuesday evening's Leon county School Board meeting to show their collective support of making masks optional in schools after a seven point proposal from Board member Rosanne Wood suggested a more targeted approach to mask wearing requirements.
Former Safe Start task force members, nurses, and former scientists took the podium, speaking in opposition to what they consider the 'medical tyranny' of the mask requirements, and commending the district's decision to make masks optional.
"I'm here to support mask optional," said public speaker Sharyn Kerwin. "I think it was the right decision. I do think the majority in Leon County, all sides would say. the majority, not everyone, of course, I recognize that I know there are people that don't agree, but I do believe the majority would support the decision of masks optional."
Board member Rosanne Wood points out that only children 12 and older are eligible for vaccination, an issue that causes concern for some parents.
"What I ask for those parents in particular," says Wood, "is that parents get to decide, not the child, and that we as a school need to enforce that, if that's what the parent wants, their child to wear a mask."
Superintendent Rocky Hanna began a discussion on the matter by reminding attendees that the mask optional decision was his alone. After brief comments from Board Member Darryl Jones, saying "Regrettably I don't see my demographic or my voters as a part of this convening of our local citizenry," those who came to comment walked out, followed by Board Member Alva Striplin, who took the meeting's quorum with her.
ABC 27 reached out to Alva Striplin for comment on why she left but has not yet heard back.
Once quorum resumed with the arrival of Board Member DeeDee Rasmussen, Superintendent Hanna advised that the district will create a survey in the coming weeks for parents to indicate how they'd like mask-wearing to be monitored throughout the coming school year.
The board hopes to create the survey and collect its data prior to next year's school start date of August 11.