Parent to BOE: Rescind mask mandate or resign

Liz Beavers
Mineral Daily News-Tribune
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KEYSER - A parent of three children in Mineral County Schools appealed to the board of education this week to repeal the mask mandate in place since the first day of school.

If they don’t repeal the mandate, he asked them to resign their positions on the board.

“I am here not only on behalf of my three children, but also for all of the children who do not have a voice,” Matthew Hansford told the board. “I am here for those afraid to stand up against you and your tyrannical mask mandate.”

Hansford told the board he is in the process of circulating a petition asking them to rescind the mask mandate. According to Hansford, the online petition has 134 signatures.

He questioned the board’s reasoning for the mandate, saying that science does not back the claims of effectiveness.

“Where is the science that says masks are safe and effective?” he asked the board - each of whom wore a mask themselves during Tuesday’s meeting.

The speaker told the board that requiring all students to wear a mask is actually hurting then rather then helping.

“Wearing a mask is actually detrimental, because you’re constantly touching your face to adjust it,” he said. “If the masks actually worked and filtered the virus, you would still cross contaminate by touching the mask and other objects.”

Hansford claims that RSV - a common and very contagious respiratory virus - is on the rise in children and adults in this area because of the masks.

“These masks are reducing your oxygen intake,” he said.

“God gave each and every one of us an immune system. If you actually care about the safety of my children, and all the children, then you would promote exercise, eating healthy, and getting enough sleep. By mandating masks, you’re simply promoting fear and tyranny.”

“This is cruel and unusual punishment, not to mention child abuse,” he said.

Hansford also asked why masks were only required inside the schools and buses.

“You’re currently only requiring masks indoors. Why?” he asked. “ Are you afraid if you require them for football games people won’t come? That sure would cause a burden on the money that the football team brings in,” he said.

Hansford reminded the board that they promised to revisit the  mask mandate after putting it into place just before the first day of school in August.

You have not addressed this mandate and it was recorded in the minutes that it was to be revisited at every board meeting,” he said. “Why is it not been addressed?”

“We the people, the 134 who signed the petition, are asking you to make right what you did wrong. We respectfully request you rescind the mandate or resign immediately,” he said.

Hansford was not the only parent to ask the board to rescind the mask mandate. Matt Sisk appeared at the Sept. 7 meeting to ask the officials to reconsider.

The mask mandate was not on the agenda for this week’s meeting, nor was it on the agenda for the Sept. 7 meeting, and the board therefore did not address it or respond to either Sisk or Hansford.

According to the minutes of the Aug. 17 board meeting, when the officials put the mask mandate in place,, the officials did state that they would revisit the issue.: "After discussion, it was the consensus of the Board to require masks for all staff, students, and persons entering the schools. The board will re-visit the masking requirement at each board meeting."

Board minutes are available at the BOE website, https://www.boe.mine.k12.wv.us.

Liz Beavers is a veteran writer and managing editor of the Mineral Daily News Tribune. To reach out to her with a story idea, email lbeavers@newstribune.info.