FRANKLIN, Tenn. (WTVF) — The district is being flooded with mask exemption paperwork after the school board in Williamson County temporarily mandated masks for elementary students.
Inside and outside the meeting there were heated moments. Some parents did not want a mask mandate, and one of them said, “What you’ve done is you have poked the cubs... we are pissed off!” Following that moment, cheers erupted.
Another speaker who identified themselves as Daniel Jordan said, “Actions have consequences. If you vote for this we will come for you in a non-violent way.”
However, other parents agreed with the board's decision. Many of them were medical professionals or doctors. One woman said, "I'm asking you to implement until at least every student can get vaccinated.” And she walked off to people boo’ing her at the meeting.
Now, parents like Kyle Creamer are filing mask exemption paperwork with the district. "Parents are not trying to do this to stir the pot. There are a lot of parents who are genuinely concerned about what this means moving forward for our children," Creamer said.
Many parents are filing for medical or religious reasons. "I talked to a fellow parent this morning who has a child with glasses, and he just talked about the fact that all day it’s fogging up his glasses so he can’t read the board, he can’t do his work," Creamer said.
According to the school district, last year there were around 1,500 exemptions out of 40,000 students.
There are also concerns about mask-wearing on school buses without air conditioning. "I have three on the bus every day every afternoon, and it’s hot right now,” Creamer said,” Putting a mask on a child while they sit on the school bus is almost inhumane."
Kyle is not anti-mask, but he doesn't want his children to wear them at school as most of their other activities don’t require them. "I think the exemption request, it’s part of a broken system, so if parents are taking advantage of that to make a stand, then I’m all for it," Creamer said.
He said health decisions should be up to parents, not schools or the government. Creamer said, "The virus isn’t going away, it’s here, and the reality is how do we deal with that?"
Masks are optional but recommended for middle and high school students. Teachers can take their masks off if they are 6 feet away. In addition, mask exemptions from last school year will count for this one.