Lee County schools prepare to enforce mask mandate on campuses

Published: August 31, 2021 4:18 PM EDT
Updated: August 31, 2021 11:21 PM EDT

A mask mandate that infuriated parents is set to go into effect at schools within The School District of Lee County Wednesday.

Monday, dozens showed up to the Lee County School Board meeting to shout down Interim Superintendent Ken Savage, who issued the order. Several people were kicked out of the meeting, and others fought with each other.

A district spokesman told us Tuesday there are certain levels of enforcement expected once the mandate is in effect. First, school staff will offer masks to students who are not wearing them. If the students refuses to put it on, staff will bring in his or her parents. If that doesn’t work, the District will discipline the student in a way still to be determined.

Masks were not part of the agenda for Lee County School Board Tuesday night, but dozens of people showed up to speak about the mask mandate during public comment.

There were more parents who spoke in favor of the masks at the meeting, while others want their right to choose.

Parents have no choice, Lee County schools will demand every student wear a mask on the bus and in class. Some parents say their kids will defy the order.

“I would honestly say to people that really are not going to comply, for tomorrow at least, then just, you know, keep your child at home,” board member Gwyn Gittens said.

Gittens told us, since Savage imposed the mask mandate, parents have continuously called, vowing their kids won’t wear a mask. She worries for the staff members who must enforce the rule.

“We need administrators and teachers, not police. They’re not police,” Gittens said. “We have to be very, very, very careful about putting anything more on people’s plates.”

Screaming at teachers will not be tolerated. The only available way to get out of wearing a mask at this time is for a doctor to write a note the District can review.

President Kevin Daly of the Teachers Association Lee County told us no one with Lee County schools had shared the complete enforcement plan with him Tuesday, but he hopes the District’s plan protects teachers and school staff.

“This issue can get volatile relatively quickly, and the last thing I want is for a staff member, or you know, any staff member to be in a position where they’re getting threatened or being screamed at,” Daly said.