Seattle students walked out of their classrooms to protest their district’s decision to end the school mask mandate. About a hundred students left their classes then proceeded to district headquarters to stage a rally.
100 Seattle Students Protest End of Mask Mandate
Last week, Seattle School District Superintendent Brent Jones ended the mask requirements for students and teaching staff.
Seattle students walked out of classrooms last Monday to protest against their district’s removal of the mask mandate. They want Jones to reinstate the use of face coverings across all schools in the entire district of Seattle.
Marigold Wong, one of the protesting Seattle students, is a sophomore at Franklin High School. She said, “it’s absolutely maddening we have to take time away from our education to fight for safety and health.”
The protesting Seattle students earlier formed a new activist group named the Seattle Student Union. Since January, the group wanted stronger safety measures to protect students from contracting COVID-19.
This includes having the district issue high-quality masks for students and teaching staff. Since Washington Governor Jay Inslee announced plans to end mask requirements in schools, the SSU threatened to stage a walkout.
SSU Wants Mask Mandates To Continue
Last week, the Seattle Students Union sent the Seattle School Board and Jones a letter demanding the return of masks. The letter included support from various schools belonging to the district.
Eridon Stewart,17, is a senior at Nova High whose mother has asthma. Fearing for her mother’s life if she gets infected, Stewart wants the mask mandate to continue. She said that whenever they drop their guards, they get “\another spike and another thousand people die.”
Another sophomore, Aderyn Kee, said she already lost three family members to COVID. She said that wearing masks can help prevent more people from dying.
Even as masks are optional at Franklin High, most students wear them for protection. However, other schools in the district aren’t as vigilant. A majority of students and teachers don’t wear masks anymore.
Teachers Union Also Concerned
Apart from Seattle students, Jones’ announcement to make masks options also rankled members of the Teacher’s Union.
Before the Seattle students walkout, the Seattle Education Association also held their rally last Friday.
The union urged Jones and other officials of the board to include teachers and students in the decision-making process. This can help repair strained relationships between the groups.
The teacher’s group claimed that the district violated an agreement by not consulting them prior to dropping the mask mandate. Union officials said the district had promised to bargain over it first.
However, the district said that its decision to end mandates aligns with recent guidance from the state health officials. While the district acknowledged that in order to life the mandate went down too quickly.
“Understandably, there are many different beliefs, opinions, reasons, and comfort levels around this decision.”
District Supports Seattle Students’ Personal Choice To Mask Or Not
The District also said it supports the student voice in making the “personal choice to mask or not”.
However, it also said that the 100 Seattle students who walked out will be given an unexcused absence for missing class. In contrast, the teacher’s union declared solidarity with the protesters.
Watch the King 5 News video reporting that Seattle Public School students protest for mask mandate return:
What do you think of the Seattle students walking out and demanding the return of their school mask rules? Do they have a point in wanting a return of mask wearing in schools?
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