NEW HANOVER COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) – The debate over whether to mandate masks for students and staff continued Tuesday night at the New Hanover County school board meeting.
About a dozen people without masks on stood in the back of the meeting room. Board chair Stefanie Adams told them masks were required in the room and they objected. Law enforcement then escorted the group out.
Governor Roy Cooper announced last week that school boards will need to vote monthly if they want to require face masks in schools.
Nelson Beaulieu, Vice Chair of the school board, thinks it’s a good call.
“No reason to plan for June when the pandemic is changing hourly,” said Beaulieu. “It wouldn’t make sense, it wouldn’t be a good policy in my opinion, to just say ‘Well, we’ll see you back here at the end of this quarter, at the end of next quarter,’ I think, you know, having this discussion every meeting is a good idea.”
Parents, and even concerned residents spoke against the mandate.
“I strongly support parental choice and it’s the parent’s right to choose what’s best for their kids,” said New Hanover County resident Libby Dunn.
The board decided to require masks for students and staff for the remainder of the month, with Pete Wildeboer casting the dissenting vote.
Leaders then tackled Policy 5120, the controversial rule about interrogating students in school that was put on hold last month.
Parents voiced concerns with the way the policy was originally written, saying it gave the option to not call a child’s guardian if they are under investigation.
The verbiage of the policy was changed at the meeting so that the parent will be promptly notified.
The policy is also aligned with the Memorandum of Understanding.
“I believe our sheriff’s office, you know, as stated in the memorandum will obey all state and federal laws when it comes to how and when they can ask questions of a minor.”
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