Mask-opposed group plans presentation

Saturday, September 4, 2021
A group of Monett School District patrons gathered at the Jerry D. Hall Memorial pavilion to discuss strategies to convince the school board that masking should be optional. Melonie Roberts/

Parents to attend future school board meetings

A group of Monett School District patrons gathered at the Jerry D. Hall Memorial Pavilion on Monday to discuss arguments to present to the school board to support their opposition to the COVID masking mandate.

While active COVID cases have increased since the start of school two weeks ago, the Monett District opted to buck the trend among other districts that made masking optional. The initial mandate at Monett was for students to come to school masked for the initial two weeks of classes, then to only mandate masks when numbers of positive cases spiked either on campus or in the community.

One patron, John Marmon, said his two grandchildren, when sent to school unmasked, were segregated from their classrooms and placed in isolation.

“They are not allowing [my granddaughter] to eat lunch or go to recess with the remainder of her class,” he said. “She has no signs or symptoms of COVID.”

Another patron, Aniko Bremer, spoke to the matter of the contentious school board meeting on Aug. 23.

“We need to have a spokesperson for the group and ask everyone to refrain from shouting out,” she said. “Just like Jan. 6 in Washington, D.C., there were thousands of people there, but just a few instigators took the attention from the whole point. We need to present facts, not feelings.

“I’m tired of the name-calling and the bickering. We need to show our kids how to work with officials, even if it doesn’t work out. Masking should be a choice. We are not trying to force our agenda on anyone. A lot of people may not agree with the mandates. We are trying to be good community members. We need to stand up for our beliefs, but respectfully.”

“They said they were mandating masks out of an abundance of caution,” said Casey Swadley, one of the group members. “But, you can find stats that say masking is awesome, and other stats that say it doesn’t work.”

“This is about our freedom of choice,” said Shane Meeks. “Why did we paint that silo over there in the colors and the symbols of our freedoms if we can’t make that choice? I fear they are trying to kill those same freedoms.”

The group plans to attend the next several school board meetings in an effort to keep informed on what the district plans next, in respect to masking.

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