NJ 4th-grader, mistreated for going maskless, sends compelling letter to governor: ‘I am only a kid once’

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A New Jersey elementary school student who was recently segregated from her class for not wearing a mask has taken her plea against school mask mandates to Gov. Phil Murphy in an essay, writing, “I don’t want to wear the mask anymore.”

The family of fourth-grader Maci Young told Fox News that their daughter was removed from class and isolated in a room adjoining the nurse’s office after declining a teacher’s request that she don a mask. Young reportedly demurred politely, but that didn’t stop the school from separating her from her class.

Even as some Democrat leaders including Murphy are finally catching up to the rational people of the world and loosening their COVID-19-related mandates, the Garden State is still requiring – against any data to support it – that children wear masks in schools.

“I was trying to stand up for what I believe in,” the fourth-grade student at Robert Hunter Elementary School in Raritan Township, N.J., told Fox News Digital this week through her mother, Chelsea Young.

“I didn’t like [being isolated and sent home for choosing not to wear a mask] because I never get in trouble at school,” she also said.

Mrs. Young told the outlet that she taught her daughter how to respond politely when objecting to the mask in school, and said her daughter responded “no, thank you,” when a staff member asked her to put one on as she arrived at school the morning of Jan. 25.

She was whisked away to the aforementioned room and her parents were summoned to pick up their daughter, and her family said they could hear the child crying in the background during the phone call from the school. The mother described the incident as “outrageous.”

“There’s a zero-tolerance [policy] for bullying, but the teachers just did that to her. Not because they wanted to, but because they are forced to by our governor,” Young told Fox News Digital. She emphasized that she doesn’t blame the teachers for their actions.

“Maci tried to take a stand for herself. And for a fourth-grader, I think she did it extremely responsibly and handled the situation way better than some adults do. But she was punished for that,” she said.

“Kids should be able to stand up for themselves, too,” Maci Young said.

Fox News Digital asked the school superintendent to elaborate on school policies and staff protocols, but outside of presenting a form letter with general mandate-related guidance, a spokesperson said the district won’t comment “on personnel or student matters.”

Chelsea Young said she was told the incident with her daughter would be marked as an unexcused absence in school records, but as of the Fox News report, it has not been marked as such.

In her essay, Maci Young describes her feelings that the masks do more harm than good. She sent her letter to the Flemington-Raritan School District’s (FRSD) superintendent, Dr. Kari McGann; to her principal; and to the school board. Her letter was published on February 12 in a local news outlet, TAPInto.

Dr. McGann, the superintendent, encouraged Maci Young to send the letter to Gov. Phil Murphy, Chelsea Young told Fox News Digital.

“We are so proud of her,” Young said of her daughter. “I think she did a great job explaining why she didn’t want to wear a mask.”

“How she was treated is horrible,” she added.

Maci Young’s difficulties evidently began when the school returned to in-person learning but with the mask requirement enforced.

“My happy, healthy 10-year-old would come home every day and have to lie down because she would have migraines,” said Young, noting that her daughter would uncharacteristically fall asleep while trying to complete her homework.

“She hasn’t taken a nap since she was three!” Young added.

The family physician initially offered to write Young a note excusing her from wearing a mask due to her migraines, but the doctor reneged just a day later because all must bow before the state, which did not, in its estimation, think that students with symptoms like the fourth-graders were legitimate cases for exemption.

But there is relief in sight.

On Monday, Feb. 14, at Flemington-Raritan School District’s board meeting, the board voted on a change to its mandatory indoor masking policy. However, students will still be required to wear masks on the bus to and from school.

In the absence of any executive order or state mandate to the contrary, mask-wearing at FRSD schools will soon be optional — beginning March 7 — according to a letter that McGann forwarded to Fox News Digital.

The fourth-grader said that one of her teachers came up to her, gave her a hug, and told her she “did an incredible job [with her letter].”

Said Chelsea Young about her daughter, “Maci feels a lot better knowing she can express herself in the right ways and have the support of her teachers.”

“For parents who still want their children to wear masks, that is your choice, but it’s time for my children to have a choice as well,” Young also said.

When asked how she thought her peers might react to maks becoming optional in schools, Maci Young said, “I think most of them would have their masks off and be happy about it.”

The following is a portion of the letter sent to Gov. Murphy.

Maci Young, from her essay:

I think kids should have a choice if they should wear a mask. One reason is because they make it very hard to breathe. I get headaches every day and I come home from school and have to lay down. When I come home I complain to my mom and dad that my head hurts and my ears from the mask pulling on them.

Sometimes the insides of my masks are dirty and that can’t be healthy for me. Our teachers teach us about health and how washing our hands keeps germs away and eating healthy food keeps us healthy …

My second reason is that most schools around the United States do not have to wear a mask so why should I have to and get yelled at by my teacher that I am not wearing my mask the right way?

Even if I tell her that I am having a hard time breathing and that my ears hurt, she tells me to go take a mask break. But if I can take a mask break in the corner, why can’t I take a mask break at my desk?

I don’t like being separate from my friends because then I feel like people are looking at me.

The last reason is that I don’t think these masks work. Kids in my class have still had to quarantine for getting sick and we have had a lot of them. If they are not stopping us from getting sick, then why are we wearing them? …

I used to not ask a lot of questions, but my teachers have taught me that asking questions helps me learn more. I complete all of my school work, I participate in class and help my teachers if they need help. I don’t get in trouble and today when I did I was really upset.

I hope that one day school will go back to being fun because I am only a kid once.


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