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Nashville DA tells MNPS school board member he won’t prosecute teachers if they require masks

Glenn Funk
Posted at 1:12 PM, Aug 17, 2021

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Nashville District Attorney General Glenn Funk says he will not prosecute local school officials who violate Gov. Bill Lee’s executive order that requires school districts to allow parents to opt out of mask mandates.

In an email obtained by NewsChannel 5, Funk responded to Nashville school board member Emily Masters' question as to whether there would be punishments for violating the order.

“I will not prosecute school officials or teachers for keeping children safe,” Funk responded.

Lee signed Executive Order No. 84 on Monday, which allows parents to opt kids out of any school mask mandates. As a result, he will not call a special session.

Read more: Governor Lee signs order allowing parents to opt kids out of mask mandates; will not call special session

MNPS officials later announced they would continue to require masks in the classroom, despite the governor's executive order. Director of Schools Dr. Adrienne Battle released the following statement Monday night:

"The Metro Nashville Board of Education and I are charged with educating our students and with keeping them safe. Universal masking policies, during the pandemic, are a key mitigation strategy to do just that. To allow anyone to opt out of these policies for any reason, other than legitimate medical need, would make them ineffective and would require more students to be quarantined and kept out of the classroom.

The Governor’s executive order was released without prior notice to school districts for review or comment. As such, Metro Schools will continue to require face masks, pursuant to the rules adopted by the Board, as we further review this order and explore all options available to the district to best protect the health of our students, teachers, and staff."

So far, MNPS has reported that more than 1,000 of its staff and students are either quarantined or isolated due to COVID-19 after school started last week. The district's school board voted to require masks in schools for all staff and students a week before the school year began.

Guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics still recommends that all students, teachers, and staff wear a mask, regardless of their vaccination status.