Protestors also cited a growing online petition against the mask, which this morning had more than 500 signatures, as evidence of the unpopularity of Lakota’s decision.
The 16,800 students of Lakota Schools are scheduled to begin classes – via a staggered start of the new school year – on Wednesday.
Lakota Spokeswoman Betsy Fuller told the Journal-News: “There are certainly very strong feelings on both sides about requiring masks in our schools.”
“This was not an easy decision to make by any means. The bottom line is, we want our students to stay healthy and be able to learn in school. In order to do that, we have to follow the quarantine protocols from the Butler County General Health District. This includes requiring both the COVID-positive student and the close contact to be wearing masks,” said Fuller.
The Journal-News reported Monday Lakota Schools Superintendent said the district’s decision was “based on the advice of medical experts, the increasing numbers of positive COVID cases among children in our county and stringent in-school quarantine protocols.”
Ohio Representative Jennifer Gross (R-West Chester Twp.) also spoke at the protest and said she backed the parents’ anti-mask stance.
“We believe in local control in Ohio. The school board and the superintendent is who you need to be talking to, so this (demonstration) is the right answer,” Gross said.
She warned the ordering of masking of school children may lead to other government infringements on the rights of parents and others.
“Letting your voice be known to the school board and the superintendent … is the right thing to do,” said Gross.
Stay with the Journal-News for more coverage of this issue.
Photographer Nick Graham contributed to this story