‘If you’re scared, stay home’: Denver-area high schoolers walk out of class over mask mandate

Several dozen high school students in a Denver suburb left class on Thursday in protest of a mask mandate, with some seen in videos posted online holding signs reminiscent of abortion rights activists that said “My body, my choice.”

Students walked out of ThunderRidge High School in the suburb of Highlands Ranch, south of Denver’s metro area, to protest the Tri-County Health Department’s mask mandate as the COVID-19 pandemic lingers.

The department announced earlier this week it would require all students to wear masks for the time being regardless of whether or not they’ve been vaccinated for the virus.

The health agency’s decision also means that individual counties — Adams, Arapahoe, and Douglas — cannot opt-out of the public health mandate, CBS4 reported.

But the decision did not sit well with many students who said they have had it with the mandates and the lockdowns.

“This is going to be the third year of my high school that is compromised. I want a normal high school career. If you are scared, you can stay home,” one student told the local news outlet.

“These people agree with me, they hate masks. And I do, too,” said another student.

The order took effect on Wednesday and will remain in effect at least until the end of the year, CBS4 reported.

“Aware and honorable students of Thunder Ridge High School were expelled from classes for protesting against the mask, but the students did not give up and took to the streets to protest,” one Twitter user posted with video of students standing along the side of a street protesting.

“Athlete A” author Jennifer Sey also took to Twitter to highlight evident hypocrisy regarding the school mask mandate.

“Weekly reminder, in Denver where I live, adults can go to large scale sporting events, night clubs, the mall, bars & strip clubs unmasked. But 2-year-olds learning to speak need to mask for 8 hours a day in pre-school and daycare. Does anyone really think this makes sense?” she wrote last week ahead of the school order.

“The last rebels,” another user wrote.

 

As the new academic year begins across the U.S., debates over masks and other COVID requirements continue to rage.

In some states like Florida, lawmakers and governors have moved to ban local school districts from requiring that kids be masked, though at the time those directives do not prohibit voluntary mask-wearing. The Department of Education’s civil rights division announced this week it is launching an investigation into five states to see if those bans are violations of federal statutes regarding public education and kids with disabilities.

Meanwhile, others are arguing for mask mandates, claiming that they work to protect kids and teachers though European countries don’t think so, as most have not required their children to mask up.

In a piece published last week, Los Angeles Times editorial board writer Karin Klein argued that kids were okay being compliant and wearing masks at school because have managed to adapt and have gotten “used to it,” though health experts have cited in research that wearing masks for hours at a time can cause harm.

She went on to say that it’s parents who are being “jerks” having the problem.

Jon Dougherty

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