A South Carolina city council meeting on whether or not to pass an emergency mandate to require masks for children in schools became heated Tuesday night when parents grew vocal about their opposition to the measure, resulting in failure to pass the policy and a vote not to receive the commission’s report.
The policy mirrored proposals being considered by city councils and school boards across the country and would have required all children over the age of two to wear a mask in public facilities “including public schools, private schools and daycares,” according to The Charleston Post and Courier.
Irate parents spoke out against the policy at the Charleston City Council meeting, echoing the sentiment of many others around the U.S fighting the same battle against mandates on their children.
“I do not understand how you think they are going to learn to read with a mask on their teacher’s face or their face…they cannot see the enunciation of letters,” one mother said also making the point that it is difficult for children to keep masks on their face for that long.
“I want to know, which one of you wears a mask for eight-plus hours a day,” she said continuing while noting that there are no studies on the long term consequences of children wearing masks.
About eighty people signed up to voice their opinion at the meeting, most of them against the mask mandate according to Live Five News.
Roughly 40 people have gathered outside of tonight’s City of Charleston Council meeting on Daniel Island protesting a possible emergency mask ordinance. #chsnews @Live5News (Pic: Landon Boozer) pic.twitter.com/vD67By7KnV
— Thomas Gruel (@thomasdgruel) August 17, 2021
The meeting quickly became contentious as some speakers, including doctors, argued in favor of the mandate to help inhibit the spread of the highly contagious COVID-19 delta variant, but most speakers were passionately against the policy, according to The Post and Courier.
Speakers began shouting at the city council while the audience shouted at the speakers leading Councilman Harry Griffin to remark, “I’ve never been more ashamed than I am right now,” to the recalcitrant crowd.
One doctor who spoke out at the meeting shared her experience with children infected with the coronavirus. She said three children were recently put on ventilators at her hospital and one died of the virus, but she did not divulge any details or pre-existing conditions, the Post and Courier reported.
The doctor argued that being in a classroom setting without masks could increase children’s risk of exposure.
The meeting also convened to discuss a more than 500-page report that included 125 recommendations to promote racial justice and equity from the city’s Special Commission on Equity, Inclusion and Racial Conciliation according to ABC4.
“We the people do not consent to being governed in this tyranny. We have freedom, God. We will not bow down to communism; we will not allow this regime to continue; we will not be silent; we will not comply. We do not bow down to you. We only bow down to God, and our oath is to the United States Constitution. Get yourselves in check right now!” one woman interjected, appearing to yell a prayer at the council.
The mask measure and the racial justice report were ultimately voted down by the council. Masks will be required at Charleston County schools through Oct. 15, following a school board vote on Monday. The Berkley County School District, which operates in Charleston’s jurisdiction, will not impose a mask mandate. A spokeswoman for the district told the Post and Courier that masks would remain optional.
Mask mandates and other coronavirus guidelines are back in most places across the United States following recent Centers for Disease Control recommendations that include masking for “all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status.” Hospitalizations for those infected with the delta variant have increased, but primarily among the unvaccinated population. Breakthrough cases and death are very unlikely among those who are vaccinated.
This week, news broke that the CDC would likely recommend a third booster shot for Americans in the fall.
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