Bullying a topic as SWFL schools get ready to have a mask-optional school year

Students won’t need to wear masks next school year in Southwest Florida, but the CDC is strongly encouraging them. This issue is starting to cause other concerns among school leaders.

Educators are discussing how the possibility of bullying could come into play in connection to optional mask wearing for the upcoming school year. There will be a group of kids wearing masks and some without them. A lot of parents can see where this could go wrong.

“My son knows as well always wear a mask,” Roldine Fevrier said.

While some parents say their kids will mask up this school year, others are happy it’s an option.

“I think they will enjoy seeing each other’s faces,” Asa House said.

With options comes a bit of separation between students and the question of bullying comes into mind.

“I have a hard time seeing that,” House said. “I think kids overall are so diverse. We are more restricted than they are.”

House is the mother of three children. She thinks the students will respect how different families choose to protect themselves.

“With everything else going on with diversity, people are trying to be more tolerant,” House said. “It’s a thing of the time now.”

“I don’t think there will be conflict now that there is a choice,” Shelly Aristizabal said.

Collier County Public Schools says it already has a plan to address not only mask diversity but accepting everyone for who they are.

“The first week of school, all the principals across Collier County Public Schools will go on the morning announcements greeting the students and welcoming to the year they will also remind students to accept differences to value others,” said Chad Oliver, the CCPS executive director of communications and community engagement. “Some students may be wearing a mask, some may not be, and that’s OK. We need to value individual decisions.”

Collier County Public School Board does not tolerate bullying of any kind, and The School District of Lee County also tells us they will not allow it, and there will be consequences in place.

Reporter:Taylor Smith
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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