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Tennessee school’s putting kids in isolation all day over refusal to wear mask

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A mother of two middle-schooler daughters in Tennessee said officials are putting her children in isolation daily because of their refusal to wear a mask as part of the institution’s pandemic mandates.

“My two middle schoolers have been in In-School Suspension every day this week,” Kristin McKinney of Williamson County told The Federalist, adding that her daughters are separated from the rest of the student body from the moment they get to school until they are released to get on a bus to go home.

She added that they sit in silence in separate rooms and are only allowed two prearranged bathroom breaks. On good days, McKinney says, her daughters are allowed two 15-minute walks outdoors.

The mother said she asked the school’s principal if her children could be permitted to join their friends and other kids in the lunchroom because there isn’t any mask requirement for the cafeteria, but the request was rejected.

“I was told no because under ISS [In-School Suspension], they’re not allowed contact with other students,” McKinney explained.

“Williamson County recently mandated masks for all school children, although parents were allowed exemptions for medical or religious reasons,” wrote Kevin Stocklin with The Federalist.

“The school board attempted, unsuccessfully, to have the religious exemptions revoked when, as one administrator put it, ‘a lot of parents found Jesus over the weekend and the exemptions came flooding in,'” he wrote.

He added that McKinney’s daughters are not the only ones who don’t wear masks, by far; however, they are among a handful who have not signed an exemption request. And she said that the number of religious exemptions that have rolled in is further proof that most parents “don’t want their kids in a mask and they’re doing everything they can to save their kid.

“As for us, we’re not signing a paper we don’t believe in. I won’t put my kids in intentional harm. We have to make choices, though, because having them in isolation all week certainly has consequences,” she said.

As part of their suspension, her daughters were instructed to write an essay outlining what they supposedly did wrong and ways in which their behavior could improve. She said her 11-year-old noted: “I did nothing wrong and I was within my constitutional rights.”

“Indeed, much of this dispute stems from a conflict between what families see as their legal rights versus the dictates of an administrative state,” Stocklin noted.

Megan Heim, a mother of three, says something else is going on.

“There is a bigger agenda here. They want kids who follow their rules. That’s why they’re infuriated that we won’t sign these exemptions. The authorities in power just want people who will follow their rules,” she told the outlet.

She noted that though one of her children has Down’s syndrome and thus qualified for a medical exemption, she also refused to sign the document.

“When you do research on masks, they are experimental medical devices, and there has to be a choice there. For me to sign a piece of paper, whether it’s medical or religious, implies that I believe the school has the authority to force every other child to wear a mask,” Heim told The Federalist. “If you have a kid that you feel more comfortable putting in a mask, by all means, that should be your right as a parent.”

Both mothers are being joined by two other moms in a lawsuit against the school board, arguing they have no choice because they don’t feel like they can trust their local school boards any longer.

“For so long, we trusted the schools with our kids,” McKinney said. “The schools had never really been questioned. They had free rein.”

“We had a lot of dual-working families where everyone was busy and just shipping their kids off to school,” Heim added. “The schools have lost that trust.”

Jon Dougherty

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