A Tennessee mom notified her child's school that her teenage daughter would be opting out of the dress code if masking was optional.
Students, teachers and staffers are required to wear masks at Hamilton County Schools, which opened Thursday, although parents may return "opt-out" forms to exempt their children from face coverings inside -- and one Chattanooga-area mom wondered why the dress code shouldn't be similar.
🔥EMAIL FROM CHATTANOOGA MOM TO @hamcoschools (Chattanooga): “Since you made the mask policy optional, I intend to o… https://t.co/UMbjKzdCyB— The Tennessee Holler (@The Tennessee Holler) 1628769881.0
"I am writing to request the parent opt-out form to opt out of the school dress code," the mom wrote to school officials.
"In light of the opt-out option related to the recently announced mask mandate, I can only assume that parents are now in a position to pick and choose the school policies to which their child should be subject," said the parent, who asked to remain anonymous for news reports. "As someone who holds a strong commitment to my feminist ideals and my desire to raise my daughter to be a strong and empowered woman able to make choices for herself, I find that the school's dress code policy does not align with my belief system. I therefore intend to opt out of this policy and send my daughter to school in spaghetti straps, leggings, cut offs, and anything else she feels comfortable wearing to school."
"Please make a note that she is not, under any circumstances, to be dress coded, as I have clearly communicated my decision to opt out of this policy," she added.
The mother told the Raw Story she wanted to show school officials that carving out exceptions to rules based on belief systems opened them up to other challenges, and she also thinks it shouldn't be that hard to enforce a rule on masking during a quickly spreading pandemic.
"While I disagree with the dress code policy, I'm not really in this to fight that policy," she told the Raw Story. "My goal is to draw attention to the importance of mask usage in our schools. We need to base decisions around this issue on medical data and be guided by the recommendations of experts in this area. But I'm up for fighting the dress code once we get the mask issue taken care of!"
The mother pointed out that the Republican-controlled state legislature called a special session to impose sanctions on school districts that impose mask mandates, so she felt a need to speak up.
"We should be guided by science and the recommendation of experts, not by what Tucker Carlson says," the woman said. "Our cases and hospitalization rates in Hamilton County have spiked up in a big way the past few weeks. We are back to where we were last February. It's very discouraging. There is a very loud contingency agitating against mask use, but I do not believe they are representative of most of us who want to keep ourselves and others safe. Hardly anyone is wearing masks at this point, which is troubling given the spread of the delta variant."
"It is frustrating that people do not want to get vaccinated and they do not want to wear masks either," she added. "I hope that my letter will inspire others to make their voice heard and to advocate for policies that will keep our children and teachers safe."