ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — Several parents said Friday they plan to unenroll their children from Rockingham County Schools after the Board of Education voted to require masks in the classroom.
The 4-3 decision is a reversal of a vote 10 days ago that would have made face coverings optional for students.
During a public comment period at Friday’s emergency meeting, the majority of parents spoke against the mandate.
“If you guys go the other way on the masks, I can unenroll my kids, I’ll do that today,” one father told the board.
“It’s about whether you have the right to force another person’s child to be muzzled against their will,” another said.
Parents interrupted comments made by the board and disrupted a presentation by a North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services epidemiologist.
Several parents spoke in favor of the requirement, concerned about learning loss from time spent in quarantine in case of exposure.
“All I ask is for K-5, they have to wear masks because we cannot afford for these kids to have an outbreak and they shut down the school,” one parent said.
Parents began walking out before the vote was finalized.
Tonya McBride said after the meeting she would ask her grandchildren if they want to be homeschooled.
“We’re supposed to be living in the USA, we’re supposed to have our freedoms and our choices, and slowly but surely they’re taking that away,” she said. “They know if they can breathe or not in those masks. A lot of them have breathing issues like some of them parents said they don’t want to force these kids to wear these masks.
Chair Kimberly McMichael and board members Doug Isley and Brent Huss voted against the mandate.
The board can revisit its decision at any time.