“They are going to the bathroom just because they need a break.”

That’s what one mother of a Charlotte County student said at the monthly School Board meeting on Tuesday evening.

Several parents attended the meeting and expressed their anger about the mask mandate in public schools.

“When I was here last month, I spoke about my personal experiences and the challenges and difficulties of obtaining a medical mask exemption for my daughter, and as a parent it is my duty to take care of my child’s health and not the duty of the school board,” said Tammy Kalin. “So when the School Board mandated masks, they removed my right and the right of every parent in the district to choose what is in the best interest of their children. And from what I am hearing, not all the school buildings have the same standard for this mandate.”

In response, Charlotte County School District spokesperson Mike Riley told the Sun, “Each and every student and staff member, whether in a classroom, hallway, or school in the district has the same mask mandate. If anyone is not following this rule, they are in violation of what the superintendent instructed everyone to do.”

Michael Zarzano, an Englewood parent, said the COVID-19 virus is “nothing but a political scam.”

“This is fear porn,” Zarzano said. “You are spreading fear porn ... it’s called a ‘scamdemic’ ... less than one percent of our population has died from this virus. And you’re putting muzzles on children’s faces. If you are afraid, wear a mask. Don’t spread your fear to the rest of the community.”


Board Chair Wendy Atkinson thanked the members of the public for their input.

Board member Ian Vincent said he is amazed and surprised by how few positive cases of students and staff there have been since the schools reopened.

“I have no doubt that part of the reason why we’ve had so few positive cases is because of everything we’ve done in our schools,” Vincent said. “We have done everything we can to mitigate the spread of the virus.”

Vincent later posted on Facebook, “Tonight’s school board meeting was a stark reminder of just how important it is that we educate our kids.”

Similar complaints about mask mandates were made at recent Sarasota School Board meetings.

In Sarasota County, a group of parents who oppose Florida school board’s mask policy have raised over $11,000 to file a lawsuit against the Sarasota school district.

The petition is by a Facebook group known as Concerned Parents of Sarasota County, which has 116 likes and 131 people following the group’s activities. On the Facebook page, the group announced it will be protesting at the Oct. 20 board meeting.

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