‘Sad time’ based on pro-mask force, labels

I am writing in response to the two letters farragutpress printed in regards to the no-mask mandate by Knox County School Board. It has become a sad time in our community when people believe they can determine what other people think or how they feel when they are making a decision.

To declare someone disingenuous or that they voted based on politics is not the right way to treat others, and will do little to persuade people to join your side of an argument. Since this pandemic began on our shores in early 2020, there have been differing opinions on how best to handle it, and during this time citizens have become mean and even hateful if others do not agree with their opinion.

I supported the school board’s no-mask mandate vote and believe it was the correct call to make. We have had a major disruption to our public schools for the past two calendar years, and I sadly find that children and teen’s psychological well-being is not being addressed.

The CDC makes recommendations — and that is all it is, a recommendation, not a law. There is no way to protect everyone from all things and our school board representatives are asked to make difficult decisions in the best interest of all the children.

When teachers were first to be vaccinated, and now anyone 12 years or older can be vaccinated, the schools became a lot safer. There are anecdotal studies that show both how mask mandates cause an increase and a decrease in COVID-19 diagnosis. Mask wearing for long periods of time in children has been shown to lead to dizziness, fatigue, headaches and perhaps increase in anxiety, which are not helpful in a classroom environment.

The solution of allowing teachers and students to masks if they so choose, and others to not wear them, made the most sense. Parents should have the same right to not mask their child if they want just as the parents who do choose their child be masked. Knox Schools also provided a virtual school for parents who felt the school environment was not safe.

As a parent of a high schooler who was diagnosed with COVID during the past mask-mandated school year, I highly support (Board of Education representative) Susan Horn (5th District) and appreciate the other school board members’ decision to best provide a way to return to “normal times,”

Just this past Friday, a federal judge (J. Ronnie Greer) took away the decision of all the parents of school-age children in Knox County. It is surprising that one person can take away the parental rights of thousands of its citizens. Again, I am not sure force is the best way to sway one person to your way of thinking.

During these times, it would do all of us some good to listen to each other and share some kindness.

- Christy McCord