A debate over masks in schools in a suburban Tennessee county ended in chaos as heated arguments flooded out into the parking lot, with residents and parents shouting threats toward school board officials.
What are the new Tennessee school mask rules?
On Wednesday, the Board of Education in Williamson County, which is south of Nashville, approved mask requirements for elementary school students, school staff and visitors, according to CNN. The rule also applies to those who ride the school’s bus system.
- The requirement will begin this week and end on Sept. 21, 2021.
The decision came after an emotionally charged four-hour meeting with frequent disruptions by crowd members opposed to mask requirements and tensions running high among all. A majority of people who attended the meeting were maskless and interjected with personal comments dozens of times throughout the meeting. Only one person was escorted out by Williamson County deputies, but dozens of anti-masking parents followed in support.
Were there any arguments at the Williamson County debate?
Parents on both sides of the argument battled over whether children should be forced to wear masks.
- After the meeting, the debate spilled into the parking lot where crowds heckled and jeered people who left the meeting with masks on, according to CNN.
- Per CNN, one man told an official, “We know who you are. You can leave freely, but we will find you.”
COVID-19, Tennessee and the bigger picture
Tennessee has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country with 40% of its population fully vaccinated, according to Business Insider. The national average is closer to 50%.
- “And it has had a surge in infections and hospitalizations as the hypercontagious delta variant spreads,” per Business Insider.
That said, other states have seen similar battles, where the public has been at war with officials about health measures during the pandemic.