FRANKLIN, Tenn. (WTVF) — On Monday night, the Williamson County School Board voted to end its mandate requirement masks in the classroom.
The board voted 7 to 5 in favor of removing the existing mask mandate, despite recommendations from Superintendent Jason Golden and district attorneys to defer the discussion amid an ongoing lawsuit.
The vote goes into effect starting Tuesday, November 16. Students will still have the option to wear masks in the classroom if they choose.
The mandate was not scheduled to end until January 2022.
The mask debate in Williamson County began to heat up at a special-called meeting in August when school board members voted to require masks for elementary school students. A group of anti-mask protesters was seen heckling — and in some cases threatening — people are they left the meeting, prompting the Williamson County Sheriff's Office to investigate.
The debate has poured into federal courts, as families have filed a lawsuit against the school district, arguing not having a mask mandate violates the Americans With Disabilities Act. A Tennessee federal judge has been hearing arguments on whether or not to keep a mask mandate, and the discussion will continue in court on Friday. In the meantime, the judge has temporarily halted a ban on mask mandates in public schools.