|Tuesday's Boyertown School Board meeting was livestreamed on YouTube.|
A group opposed to requirements that students wear masks in schools urged the Boyertown School Board Tuesday to life the policy.
Parents part of a group called Unmask Our Children Boyertown PA told the board that the policy requiring masks is misplaced because the negative effects far outweigh any potential benefits.
"How did surgical masks come to dominate out life," asked Nicole Allen, calling them "an impossible standard of safteyism."
Masks, she said "make children more prone to illness. Make the right choice, unmask the children."
"This is not a minor inconvenience for our children," said David Windsor of Gilbertsville. His wife, Christine Windsor, said the district should practice "choice, not force."
"You cannot take away rights ot parents by doing what you think is best for all children," said Windsor. "You must not sell our children to the state."
Bechtelsville resident Maria Schwartz said her child suffered headaches and other health problems from being required to wear a mask in school. "I had to decide between his mental health and physical health."
"I never thought I would have to fight for my child's right to breathe," said her husband Jeff. "You're making decisions based on funding rather than children's health," he said.
Board member James Brophy told those parents "money was never discussed" when it came to the policy the district adopted. "but we do have to follow the law."
He said he is sympathetic to their concerns because "my grandson was hospitalized with an infection in both eyes due to a mask."
Maria Sanchez told the board that recent science has determined "children are not drivers of the virus in school or anywhere, and we're always being told the follow the science. Give parents the freedom to choose what's best for their kids."
Boyertown Schools Superintendent Marybeth Torchia said when the governor's mask mandate expires on Monday, June 28, the district's policy will make masks optional.
She said the health and safety plan for the 2021-2022 school year is currently being drawn up by the district's task force and will likely contain a recommendation that masks be optional.
The draft policy will be reviewed at the July 13 school board meeting and up for a vote at the July 27 meeting.
"Your voices were clearly heard," Torchia said in thanking parents for their input and for speaking up.