Colorado High School Students Stage Walkout To Protest School Mask Requirement

Kendall Tietz on September 2, 2021

High school students in Douglas County, Colorado, staged protests Wednesday calling for the end of a classroom mask mandate, ABC 7 Denver reported.

Students from ThunderRidge High School walked out of class around 9:30 a.m. in protest of the classroom mask requirement, ABC 7 reported.

On Monday, the Tri-County Health Department board voted in favor of a mask requirement for all students and staff, ages 2 and up, regardless of vaccination status, ABC 7 reported. The new order does not allow individual counties to opt out of the mask requirement.

“We understand that some parents and students are frustrated and disagree with the mask requirement, but masks provide protection and prevent the spread of disease which allows students to remain in school where they learn best,” Tri-County Health told ABC 7.

Some students expressed their discontent with the mask requirement.

“I believe that masks, they’ve been going from mostly two years now, this is going to be the third year of my high school career that’s compromised,” student Austin Knapp told ABC 7. “I want a normal high school career there. If you are scared you could stay home.”

Cole Bradley, another Thunder Ridge student signaled to the students behind him and told ABC 7, “These people agree with me. They hate masks, and I do too.”

Parents and students from Ranch View Middle School joined the ThunderRidge High School students in the protest, ABC 7 reported. Students from Legend High School protested on the street with anti-mask signs around the same time.

“There’s enough parents, and there’s enough scientific data to show otherwise, that this is just not a necessary option that they have to take, and there are enough students that feel the same way,” parent Amy Ellis told ABC 7 Denver.

Mask mandates have been a salient issue throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in schools.

The Douglas County School District said it would continue to balance the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Tri-County Health Department public health order.

“We will work with our families and staff members who cannot tolerate a mask due to medical or mental health reasons,” Douglas County Schools told ABC 7. “Our goal is to keep our students and staff in the classroom for in-person learning.”

The mask mandate went into effect Wednesday and is set to remain in place until the end of the year, ABC 7 reported.

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