Parents debate mask mandate at heated Boardman Schools board meeting

Local News

BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) — Parents from either side aren’t backing down when it comes to the mask mandate for Boardman Local Schools and things got a little heated at Monday night’s board meeting.

Boardman High School’s cafeteria was filled with parents that were both for and against the mask mandate.

Some who are against held up signs reading “I can’t breathe” and “My Kids My Choice.”

Parents said they just want transparency and answers. One parent share a different kind of sign in the form of a photo.

“Look at each of these kids faces, look at their smile, look at their eyes. These three young kids are why I’m up here today. I’m sick and tired of the go-around the board has been giving us and I’m sick and tired of you hiding behind a mask mandate,” said parent Sarah Amaismeier.

Others in favor of masks thanked the board for putting the mask mandate in place and for keeping their kids safe.

One young man who is a sophomore at Boardman High school said he thinks masks are an important part of keeping kids safe. He has a sister battling cancer and said if wearing a mask protects her and others, wearing one is a no-brainer.

“It is important that we respect and protect all the students and staff around us. I had COVID and it is something I don’t want to deal with again. I don’t want my family or anyone else to have to deal with,” Erik Lipinsky said.

Others wonder what can be done differently with the mandate. One parent suggested both sides meet to try to work together.

“To me, a mask isn’t necessarily just covering your face, it could be the face shield – that is also a type of mask. Parents on both sides could come together in a group of maybe three and three and say, ‘Hey, can we try this?'” said parent Mark Amaismeier.

During the meeting, things did get tense at times. Multiple people were interrupted while speaking. Right before the executive session some parents got in each others’ faces and things got heated.

About six police officers who were at the meeting had to break up the slight altercation. One man was screaming to not vote for the current board members.

A group of 10 parents filed a lawsuit against the school board and superintendent Tim Saxton to remove the mask mandate. A judge has yet to make a ruling in the case.

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