More than 50 parents showed up for a Michigan school board meeting demanding an end to mask rules inside classrooms despite a statewide surge in new coronavirus infections.
The parents began banging on the doors to the auditorium where the Hudsonville Board of Education meeting was held Thursday evening after many of them were denied entrance due to social distancing requirements, and one mother said she didn't understand why parents weren't allowed into school buildings, reported MLive.
"The fact that there's no parents keeping an eye on teachers and what's going on, there's so much potential for wrong things to happen," said Jeanette Schuiteman.
"It doesn't make any sense to me," Schuiteman added. "Students are coming into contact with us and coming into contact with all the other students, so it's as if I were already coming into contact with the students because my students are in the school. So it seems like a silly rule that doesn't make a lot of sense."
Schuiteman, who has five children in district schools, said she believes masks are "physically not healthy" and the decision to wear them should be left up to individual families.
"I think that's a decision that a parent should be able to make given the harmful side effects that might occur because of it," she said. "There is not really any scientific evidence to back up the effectiveness of masks for transmitting a virus."
Michigan leads the nation in COVID-19 cases, and officials say school outbreaks and new cases in young people are helping to drive the surge.
"Our parents' voices are extremely important for us to understand the pulse of the community, but right now it's not enough for us to get rid of masks," said superintendent Doug VanderJagt. "As soon as it becomes an option, that's a different conversation, but right now it's not."
Parents chanted "let us in" after they were locked out of the capacity meeting until security guards asked them to go outside, and VanderJagt said he regretted the scheduling.
"If we knew there was going to be 400 people that wanted to get in here, we'd have just had the meeting online," he said. "We didn't know how many to expect, otherwise we could have had a bigger venue and gone outside or virtual."
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