Some parents protest Western High School’s decision to require masks

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RUSSIAVILLE, Ind. — Students who go to Western High School in Russiaville are required to wear masks starting Monday and some parents are protesting the decision. 

Some protest organizers say this isn’t about being anti-masks, but it’s about parents having the option to choose what’s best for their students.  

Dozens showed up to the protest with their signs and none wearing masks. 

New state guidance allows students who are in close contact with someone who is positive to stay in school if the school has a mask requirement. 

Some organizers say parents should be able to have their students not wear a mask and have to quarantine. 

“We are not an anti-mask group. We’re a parents’ choice group and as a parent, my choice is to not mask my child. And if that comes with consequences, then I as a parent will face that,” said Brittany Beatty. 

“We’re hoping that the school board and other members are listening to us. We want to show how stern, how we’re not going away. We want… as parents we want the choice whether to mask or unmask our children.” 

Parents protesting are asking for choices. 

“Western is also not offering a virtual school option, so if we decide not to mask our kid, they’re just not going to teach us, because there is no virtual school option at all,” said Brittany’s husband Chris Beatty. 

The school’s dashboard, which is updated every Friday, says last week 18 students tested positive for COVID-19 and 200 were in quarantine for close contact. 

We reached out to the superintendent, who responded with a statement:

Last week the Western School Board of Trustees voted to implement an indoor mask mandate for all students, staff and visitors at Western School Corporation.  The mask mandate went into effect today.  Previously, the Western School Board approved masks as optional.  However, due to the number of positive student cases so far this year, the number of students in quarantine thus far and a survey of both parents and staff where 51% were in favor of a mask mandate, the school board decided to vote in favor of a mask mandate.  This is something that is very fluid and we continue to monitor numbers.

Dr. Kathryn Reckard, superintendent

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