A Georgia mom’s emotional plea at a school board meeting this month in the metro-Atlanta area to end a mask mandate has made waves nationwide.
A mother of three, Courtney Ann Taylor, petitioned the Gwinnett County Board of Education to “take these masks off my child” in a video that is circulating widely on social media.
“Every month, I come here and hear the same things — social, emotional health,” Taylor said. “If you truly mean that, you would end the mask requirement tonight.”
Taylor is the mother of a 2-year-old, a 4-year-old and a 6-year-old kindergarten student who complains about wearing a mask.
“It’s April 15, 2021, and it’s time. Take these masks off of my child,” Taylor said as applause broke out in the meeting.
Taylor said it is no longer March 2020, and there are now three vaccines available that every adult in the state of Georgia is eligible to receive.
“Every one of us knows that young children are not affected by this virus … and that’s a blessing,” she said. “But as adults, what have we done with that blessing? We’ve shoved it to the side and said, ‘we don’t care, you’re still going to wear a mask every day,’ 6 and 6-year-olds. ‘You still can’t play together on the playground like normal children … we don’t care.’”
“'We’re still going to force you to carry a burden that was never yours to carry,’” she continued. “Shame on us.”
Though children can develop COVID-19, most of them have no symptoms or mild symptoms, Harvard Health Publishing reported.
Taylor said they did not elect the leaders at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], the federal agency that has provided COVID-19 guidance. However, the residents of the county did elect the five school board members to make “difficult decisions for our children.”
“We chose you to make decisions that would be in our children’s best interest and forcing 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9-year-old little children to cover their noses and their mouths where they breathe for seven hours a day every day for the past nine months for a virus you know doesn’t affect them,” Taylor said.
“That is not in their best interest and this has to stop,” she pleaded. “Defend our children. … It has to stop. Take these off of our children.”
Gwinnett County Public Schools, Georgia’s largest district, mandated face masks for all students, staff and visitors last summer for the current school year, according to Patch.
Georgia’s Republican Gov. Brian Kemp signed three executive orders last month to roll back many COVID-19 restrictions.
One of the orders encourages but does not require Georgians to wear masks in public.
Five parents in Cobb County, Georgia, sued their school district over the district’s mask mandate and asked the judge to overturn the rule, citing Kemp’s executive order, Fox 5 Atlanta reported.
During an interview with Fox News, Taylor said people have reached out to her from across the country to thank her for speaking up stand in solidarity with her about fighting the mask mandate.
Taylor, who attends every school board meeting, said it is essential that parents become involved in their children’s education to be their voice, which prompted her to speak on behalf of her daughter.
“Month after month, I have been waiting for this mask requirement to end, or at the very least, ease up. And there is just no end in sight and nobody is even having the discussion about [when] this is going to stop,” she said during the “Fox and Friends” interview.
Forcing children to wear masks inhibits their social development, especially at such a young age, she argued.
“Kindergarten is supposed to be fun,” she added. “They play together, they learn how to play together, they learn social norms and how to solve conflict among themselves and how to read facial expressions from their peers and their teacher. I don’t see how any of the children can really do that and have a childhood right now. I think it’s very difficult.”
“It’s not okay to put our children through something we disagree with like this,” Taylor said.
The mother said the next step is a lot of prayer and attending each board meeting.
She also launched a change.org petition calling on Gwinnett County Public Schools to make masks optional for K-12 students. The petition has over 2,600 supporters as of Monday.
“We stand firmly together to defend our most vulnerable,” Taylor wrote on the online petition. “We stand to say NO MORE MASK REQUIREMENTS on our children.”
This is one of the strictest face mask age requirements globally, the lawmakers wrote, urging the CDC to update its current guidance and the age requirement by May 6.