Tennessee school board meeting mandating children wear masks, ends with parents yelling: “We Will Find You”


Hayley Fowler

The Charlotte Observer

Dozens of parents were seen on video jeering at people leaving a school board meeting in Tennessee on Tuesday — many of whom were reportedly doctors and nurses.

The two-minute clip posted on Twitter by journalist Matt Masters was recorded at the Williamson County Administration Complex in Franklin, Tennessee, after the school board voted in favor of a temporary mask mandate amid rising COVID-19 cases.

Williamson County is just south of Nashville.

Hundreds attended the nearly four-hour meeting, where just 30 people were allowed to speak, WKRN reported. The board ultimately passed the measure in a 7-3 vote.

Under the new rule, all elementary school students, staff and visitors will be required to wear a face covering inside and on buses starting Thursday, a notice on the Williamson County Schools website states. The mandate expires Sept. 21 at 11:59 p.m.

The video shows people chanting “will not comply” and “no more masks” as individuals wearing face coverings exit the building. Someone is heard calling them “God abusers.”

At one point, a sheriff’s deputy appears to stand between someone in their car and a group of people berating them.

“We know who you are,” one person yelled.

Another man appeared to intervene, telling him to “keep it calm” before shaking his finger at the driver and saying, “We know you you are, you can leave freely, but we will find you.”

“You will never be allowed in public again,” the first person is heard yelling over him.

Law enforcement eventually cleared a path in the crowd for the person to leave, the video shows. Protesters — several of whom said they are parents — were heard shouting expletives at the car.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidelines in July to recommend students and staff wear masks, reversing course on a previous recommendation that allowed vaccinated individuals to forgo a mask indoors.

Since then, thousands of school districts have instituted a mask requirement amid a surge in COVID-19 cases largely attributed to the delta variant.

In North Carolina, U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn, a Republican, told Buncombe County Schools officials last week that their mask requirement was “nothing short of psychological child abuse.”

But health experts have said masks are necessary to prevent the highly contagious delta variant from spreading, particularly among children who are not yet eligible to be vaccinated. A Gallup poll earlier this month found 67% of adults and 60% of parents with school-aged students support mask requirements for unvaccinated staff and teachers.

About 64% of adults and 57% of parents also support mask rules for unvaccinated students.

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