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Michigan teacher says he was fired after raising concerns over lack of masks in class

Michigan teacher says he was fired after raising concerns over lack of masks in class
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A teacher in Michigan says he was fired by a private elementary school that refused to comply with the state's mask mandate for incoming students in the fall.

In an interview with Michigan Public Radio (MPR), Nathan Smith explained how he repeatedly warned Oakdale Academy's headmaster that students would face unsafe learning conditions in the fall due to the school's plans to make mask-wearing voluntary for students and continue to hold all-school gatherings in violation of orders preventing large social gatherings in the state.

Smith said the school's head, David Stanton, declined to take seriously his repeated efforts to raise concerns about the school's violations, and eventually fired him after asking him to resign.

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Masks are required for all students under the state's Safe Schools guidelines, but it reportedly isn't clear whether local authorities will take action to force the school or others to comply. Smith has raised concerns with the state's Occupational Health and Safety Administration, and local police and state Department of Education officials have reportedly been notified as well.

Stanton declined to comment to MPR but reportedly said in now-private YouTube messages to the school's community that he will not enforce a mask mandate at the school.

“I don’t want divisiveness here. I do not want to allow our enemy Satan to gain a foothold, not even a toehold, in this school,” Stanton said in one video seen by MPR that is no longer available to the public.

“No one in this school will be judged for wearing a mask, and no one in the school will be judged for not wearing a mask. We cannot allow divisiveness to reign to that end. We cannot allow a debate about science to reign," he reportedly continued.

Smith said that the headmaster's remarks amounted to a political stance at the cost of students' health and safety.

“I'm just appalled that instead of instead of being able to brag about how good of a job we're doing, we're just trying to pretend like everything's normal,” he told MPR. “It seemed like they wanted to take a political stance against that, and that the students were going to pay the price.”

Oakdale Academy did not immediately return a request for comment from The Hill, and Stanton declined to comment to MPR.