President calls health workers 'heroes' after Williamson County board meeting

Posted at 1:53 PM, Aug 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-12 16:04:19-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — During an address Thursday afternoon, President Joe Biden paused to briefly discuss healthcare workers threatened outside of a Williamson County Schools board meeting this week.

The Williamson County School Board meeting turned tense inside and outside, with a crowd chasing those in masks to their cars after speaking during the public comment. The majority parents who spoke in favor of masks were also healthcare workers. Ultimately, the school board decided to vote in favor for mask mandate for only elementary school students, because children at that age are still not eligible to receive the vaccine.

"As they were walked out, they were threatened," Biden said. "Healthcare workers were heroes when there was no vaccine and they are heroes again with a vaccine. To the mayors and school superintendents who are standing up, thank you as well. Thank God we have heroes like you."

READ MORE: Group threatens doctors, others wearing masks outside school board meeting

Hundreds of parents attended the meeting, with some wanting a choice in the mask mandate and others wanting face coverings for all students at school. Only 30 people were able to speak during the public comment, which lasted half an hour of the four-hour meeting.

Prior to Biden's remarks, Tennessee House Speaker Cameron Sexton wrote a letter to Gov. Bill Lee on Wednesday requesting a special session, with one of the issues outlined as masks requirements for students as mandated by school boards. Currently, school boards have the right to mandate face coverings for students, which has been done in Metro, Chattanooga and Paris, Tennessee.

Gov. Lee's office has yet to respond to that request.