State Watch

Parents surround health workers advocating for masks in schools: ‘We know who you are’

A group of parents in Tennessee surrounded health care professionals outside of a school board meeting on Tuesday, after they advocated for a mask mandate in the local school district, the Tennessean reported.

According to video circulated on social media, a group of parents in Franklin, Tenn., surrounded the health care workers while they were leaving a building during a Williamson County School District Board meeting.  

The footage shows parents chanting “we’ll not comply” as the workers exit through building doors. Some parents are seen yelling obscenities toward one health care professional as he heads into the parking lot. One woman can be heard yelling “take that mask off!” 

As the footage continues, an unmasked man in a black shirt can be seen yelling at the health care worker who has made it into his car. 

“You’re not on our side!” he yells. “We know who you are.” 

Another man in a blue, long sleeved shirt confronted the driver. 

“We know who you are. You can leave freely, but we will find you,” he said, pointing a finger at the driver’s side window. 

The confrontation between parents and medical workers comes after Williamson County Schools (WCS) voted on Tuesday to institute a mask mandate for students and faculty members in their district, according to the Tennessean. 

Some of the parents in the district said that the mask mandate amounts to child abuse, according to the footage. 

The four-hour school board meeting drew a crowd of anti-mask protesters including former sports journalist and conservative political commentator Clay Travis, who has children that attend schools in the district, the Tennessean reported. 

Another video showed a male protester being escorted out of the building during the meeting by local authorities for being disruptive. Other protesters followed suit by leaving the board meeting as well. 

In a statement to The Hill, WSC said that the parents are “passionate” about their children’s education, but added that there is “no excuse for incivility.” 

We serve more than 40,000 students and employ more than 5,000 staff members. Our families and staff represent a wide variety of thoughts and beliefs, and it is important in our district that all families and staff have the opportunity to be represented and respected. We will continue to work toward making sure all voices are heard and that all families, staff and community members feel safe sharing their opinions” the school district continued. 

The United States is currently dealing with a surge of COVID-19 cases amid the spread of the highly transmissible delta variant. The disease has hit unvaccinated pockets of the U.S. the hardest, and federal health officials say that the majority of deaths and hospitalizations are among the unvaccinated. 

WCS’s new mask mandate will go into effect on Thursday with the school board returning to vote to extend the measure on Sept 20., the Tennessean noted. 

The Hill has reached out to the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office for comment and more information.

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