North Carolina Congressman Madison Cawthorn joined a group of parents Thursday as they pushed back against the Buncombe County school board’s new mask mandate for children and what he called “swampy backdoor tactics.”
Cawthorn, who was born in in the county, spoke like any other citizen during the public comment portion – and he began by telling the board members that they would “fit in” in Washington, D.C.
“Although that’s humorous, it is absolutely correct,” he said. “Because you have muzzled their voices just like you have muzzled our children.”
(Buncombe County Schools)
Cawthorn accused the board of passing its new mask mandate without input from district parents who oppose such a rule.
“You knew it would never withstand the scrutiny of the public,” he said. “I’ve witnessed swampy backdoor tactics from bureaucrats in Washington, D.C., but what you have done here today puts that all to shame.”
He said the mask mandate amounted the board’s “sacrifice” of the emotional, social and psychologic development of district students “on the altar of wokeness.”
“This school board has no right to rip personal responsibility away from the hands of its citizens,” he said. “The family should always come before the government. You do not know better than the parents in my district (North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District). You do not have a right to slam down mandates upon children of Buncombe County that fly in the face of scientific reasoning.”
He added that the greatest threat to schoolchildren today doesn’t come from the coronavirus.
“It comes from woke government officials like you who think they are all-knowing and all-wise,” he told the board, prompting applause from the audience.
Cawthorn said data shows few children are getting severe cases of COVID-19.
The board passed its new mask mandate in a 4-2 vote, according to the Asheville-based WLOS.
“Change is inevitable,” Superintendent Dr. Tony Baldwin told the station. “So, where we find ourselves today, certainly may not be where we find ourselves even 48 hours from now.”
Of 33 speakers at the public comment session that followed, only one spoke up in favor of the mandate.
A full video of the board’s roughly three-hour meeting is available on its YouTube channel. Cawthorn begins speaking shortly before the 52-minute mark.
The district’s mandate reportedly applies only to unvaccinated individuals, and there are exemptions for medical or behavioral conditions.