ST. GEORGE, Utah (ABC4 News) — After more than one week since schools have reopened in Washington County, the Liberty Action Coalition hosted an anti-mask mandate rally in front of the school district building Friday morning.
Up to a thousand people showed up in St. George, stating children being forced to wear masks in classrooms is illegal and unconstitutional and they are “tired of not being able to live their normal lives.”
Many locals called concerns about coronavirus spikes “overblown” or called the virus a “hoax.” Some stated that asymptomatic carriers simply do not exist, while others stated that as citizens of the United States, they cannot be forced to wear masks anywhere.
“If we want to wear a mask, that’s fine, but we can take care of ourselves,” Veyo resident Stephen Millet said. “We don’t need the government telling us what we can and can’t do.”
Some rally attendees said they shouldn’t ever wear masks if they have any medical issues or mental health concerns or if they feel they simply “can’t breathe.”
“George Floyd was saying, ‘I can’t breathe,’ and then he died,” St. George resident Shauna Kinville said. “Now we’re wearing a mask and saying ‘I can’t breathe,’ but we’re being forced to wear them.”
Many stated that in all cases, they believe masks jeopardize kids’ health. Parents demanded they have the right to decide what to do with their children.
“Let me tell you why I hate masks, they’re contaminated,” Washington County resident Betty Jake said. “And because most child predators, most child molesters love them.”
School administrators responded that they don’t understand why crowds are protesting them based on a mandate given by Utah Gov. Gary Herbert.
“They blocked off the front entrance to the school district building, and we went out to ask them to move and they attempted to storm in,” director of communications Steven Dunham said. “We want to keep schools open. If a mask is helping protect teachers who are putting themselves at risk, that’s really a small price to pay for them to educate your children.”
The school board announced they will soon be implementing the governor’s recent public health order that face shields alone are not enough and must be worn with masks in schools.
Dunham said that if a teacher or student wishes to only wear a face shield, they must fill out a waiver. If parents are adamant that their children cannot wear a mask or shield, for either a physical ailment or a mental health concern, they must fill out a form including a doctor’s note so the district can review it.