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Parents, students protest new mask guidance outside Papillion-La Vista schools

Published: Aug. 30, 2021 at 6:09 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - On Monday, parents and some students could be found outside of Papillion-La Vista schools and the district offices protesting new mask guidance, issued Friday and effective Monday morning.

Anti-mask protesters tell 6 News the new mask guidance is government overreach and that the decision to wear a mask should be between a student and their family, not the schools.

“It’s not healthy, we’ve got proof that proves that masks don’t work, we’ve tried it for a year. It’s ridiculous. forcing this on children is abuse,” says Kelli Brady, a grandparent of students in Bellevue schools, which does not currently require masks.

“The fact of the matter is we’re not going to be silent and we’re not going to stand by while they take away the rights and choices of parents,” says another protester, Allie French.

Papillion-La Vista schools, as well as Westside schools, reversed their mask guidance after a rise in COVID-19 cases in both districts.

A spokeswoman for Papillion-La Vista schools tells 6 News that the measure is for the time being, as the health and safety of students is their first priority, alongside keeping kids in the classroom for learning.

Meghan Elkins, who has several children in the PLVS district, says she feels as though parents and students who are against wearing masks are being treated unfairly.

“The school district last year, they gave students the alternative of distance learning for those who didn’t want to send their kids to school because they were afraid of COVID. Well, our side — we’re afraid of the repercussions that are going to happen to our children because of masks and their health, and we need to have the same fair treatment and no discrimination for the other side,” she says.

Parents tell 6 News they plan to continue protests and attending school board meetings until they feel their opinions and voices are heard.

“We should not have the government dictating what we do with our health, nor should schools,” says Brady. “Schools don’t have that right. They should never have that right.”

Several health agencies and organizations — including the Mayo Clinic, the American Medical Association, the U.S. Academy of Sciences, and the CDC — have repeatedly concluded that wearing masks, particularly in indoor settings, prevent community spread of COVID-19.

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