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Belton: Parents protest for children’s right to unmask in schools

Published: Mar. 7, 2021 at 7:30 PM CST
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BELTON, Texas (KWTX) - A group of Central Texas parents held a protest at the Bell County Courthouse Sunday, pleading educators to give parents and students the right to unmask their children in schools.

Evan Gauthier and other families believe now that the state mandate will officially end this Wednesday, parents and students should have the choice to mask up, not the districts.

“My face shield gives me headaches and it makes it harder for me to focus and read,” he said.

“It makes me panic and want to run away. I want to be at school, and I want to be able to bring my soccer ball out and play with my friends. I don’t like being told I’m going to hurt other people because I can’t wear a mask.”

Many claim that the individual school districts have denied their requests to not wear masks in schools throughout the pandemic, despite citing medical or religious reasons.

Gauthier’s mother, Andrea, says this led her son to a dark turn.

“In April 2020 I almost lost my son to isolation,” she said.

“The silent fear, anxiety and depression he was internalizing was the killer working in the corner.”

Parents say their biggest concern is that if their children have to stay home to not wear a mask, more virtual learning and continued isolation could have devastating effects on their learning and mental health.

Gauthier says the choice should belong to the parents.

“For the parents that want their children to wear facemasks, we are not trying to trample on your rights or your beliefs as parents,” she said.

“We fully support you to make the best decision for you and your children, but we also want that opportunity to decide for ours.”

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