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Another MFISD board meeting set to discuss face masks after parents protest

Marble Falls ISD parents protest mask mandate

Jake Brydon of Marble Falls spoke to about 150 people in front of the Marble Falls Independent School District administration building at 8 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 1. The group gathered in protest of a mask mandate for students and staff approved by the school board Monday, Aug. 30. Staff photo by Suzanne Freeman

The Marble Falls Independent School District Board of Trustees will meet again in the next week to have an open discussion with parents about how best to stop the spread of COVID-19 on campuses, board President Kevin Naumann told people protesting the district’s mask mandate Wednesday, Sept. 1. 

After the morning protest, Naumann told DailyTrib.com that he and Superintendent Chris Allen are each preparing separate email messages to send to the community in the next day or so outlining expectations between now and the next meeting. 

“My letter is focused on how do we come alongside one another and listen to one another and develop common solutions we haven’t thought about,” Naumann said. “How do we do this as a community. There’s no room for being angry at one another.” 

About 150 people gathered in front of the MFISD administration building at 1800 Colt Circle at 8 a.m. Wednesday holding signs decrying a recently board-approved mask mandate that went into effect that day. The mandate is only for the month of September, after which, the board will reassess the situation. 

At the protest, Superintendent Allen passed out donuts while board member Alex Payson distributed water and chocolate chip cookies to people standing on a patch of grass across the street from the administration building. 

Naumann was also on hand, taking the microphone several times to answer questions. 

Allen addressed the crowd at a protestor’s request. Later, he spoke to emphatically respond “No!” when accused of planning to change the district’s dress code to include masks. He also explained that students not wearing masks would not be punished or ridiculed.

A local pastor spoke to quiet those shouting remarks as Allen tried to speak. 

“We are down here to take a stand and to do it with a good heart,” said Jeremy Cotton, pastor at Hill Country Fellowship. Cotton has three children in the district in the seventh, ninth, and 12th grades. “We’ve had a lot of contact with the district and a lot of good conversations with the district. We are just trying to start a conversation.”

Parent Jake Brydon, who organized the protest and met with DailyTrib.com the day before to talk about the upcoming protest, echoed that willingness to be civil and work together, although several times while speaking to the crowd he called out the administration and Allen, in particular. 

He described dropping off one of his three children at school that morning. He asked a teacher if they were going to have an issue with his child not wearing a mask. He was told no, then a person standing next to the teacher tried to hand his child a mask.

“Dr. Allen,” he called out loudly. “That’s unacceptable. It ain’t gonna work. Here’s our donut back to you. Get with your school board and immediately repeal this unlawful mandate.”

Brydon continued in that vein, accusing the administration and the board of instilling fear in order to gain control over their lives and the lives of their children. 

“The reason they want you to be fearful is because they want to control you,” Brydon said. “‘If you don’t wear a mask, you’re gonna kill Grandma. If your kids don’t wear a mask, we’re not going to be able to have school.’ Well, you’re the reason people are gonna die. You’re the reason. It’s all about control,” he said, pointing at Allen.

“Some people have the pastor’s heart and some of us are called to be the sharp end of the stick,” he continued. 

Those in attendance called out comments of support or opposition when people spoke. Many held their phones high overhead, recording speakers and posting photos and comments on Facebook. Others were on Facebook Live.

Naumann spoke toward the end of the hour-long gathering.

“I want you to know you’ve been heard,” he said. “It’s not personal, and I’m so glad many of you said something like that because it has gotten personal and it has hurt my heart.” 

The goal, he said, is to elevate the conversation so the community can look at solutions together. 

“I don’t like masks either — I’m not wearing one now,” he said. “But what we were faced with was the decision to close the campus — campuses, actually … ” 

At this point, he was cut off by people yelling over his remarks. Others in the crowd quieted down the disgruntled so Naumann could be heard. 

“We either close the campuses or try something that might work, so we did,” Naumann continued. “That might have been the wrong decision. I want you to know that you were heard. You are loved. We are trying to do the best we can.”

Several people noted that they would have been at the first school board meeting if they had known masks were on the agenda. 

Agenda item No. 2 for the Aug. 30 meeting read: Presentation/Discussion Items and Possible Action, A. MFISD Health & Safety Plan — Dr. Allen. 

“That’s how it read last time we talked about masks and COVID-19 protocols,” Naumann told DailyTrib.com after the protest. “The conversation on Monday, and the one we will have next week, is not specifically about a mask or not. It really is about a health and safety plan. The mask is only a piece of that. Last year, when we had a mask mandate, it was posted the same way.” 

A date and time for next week’s meeting will be published on DailyTrib.com as soon as details are available.

suzanne@thepicayune.com

12 thoughts on “Another MFISD board meeting set to discuss face masks after parents protest

  1. We need Biden Federal mandatory vaccines for all Teachers/Americans healthy enough to receive or you will pay a fine, go to jail for voluntary manslaughter. Our state looks like a sick joke now with all these anti-maskers. Well our 40 year old friend
    died last week in a sedated coma, perfectly healthy. Eventually, the many, many of the ones who don’t get it will either get sick with longterm effects or death. Wake up people, science is real. The low vaccination rates in our county are a disgrace. These parents are on another planet, adding their politics to science. Get real or you may die or kill someone else, not an accident anymore. Lambda and C.1.2 are coming too. Your body and tough minded attitude isn’t going to save you when your lungs get eaten and crystalized.

    1. Yes, we should follow Israels lead because they have zero effect from covid now that they have the highest vaccination rate in the world. All hail king Biden and King Fauci. Only they can save us.

  2. “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.”

    Proverbs 12:15

  3. Listen, there has never and will never be a well thought out plan if the government has the reins.
    It’s entirely up to communities to decide what’s best for our kids. We must not let the corporate overlords decide what’s best for everyone.
    Herd immunity is not a hoax and I encourage folks to learn about it and understand how it works.
    At the end of the day, it’s the parents who have the final say. Mic drop…lol

    1. Herd immunity has most often been achieved through vaccines. Consider smallpox, polio, measles, and others. There is a reason those aren’t an issue: vaccines. When people got many of the highly infectious diseases prior to vaccine mandates (including for schools), people often died. Communities deciding what’s best for kids is great – and those on the school board are part of the community. Making decisions based on facts and support of experts is what’s needed, not emotions. My hope is parents have wisdom to care for their kids and not expose them and others unnecessarily to something that can continue to disrupt education, activities, community, and potentially cause many to get very sick and, for some, even die.

  4. If you’re going to pass a mandate,have the courage to stand behind it.
    That’s if you’ve got the backbone to stand.

  5. The virus acts no different from other viruses other than it can hospitalize you and kill you.
    If everyone received a vaccine shot and wore masks until the virus had no more unvaccinated, uncovered hosts then we would be past it, children safe and the economy open and thriving.
    Freedom requires responsibility otherwise it is only anarchy and selfishness in the face of the safety of the community.
    This false freedom narrative has actually made things worse for all and limited what anyone can do safely.
    Be responsible and encourage your neighbors to be as well.

  6. If the board reneges on the mask mandate because of the opinions of a band of misinformed individuals who value “personal freedoms” over public health, shame on them. The fact that this is an argument is an embarrassment to our city, our state, and our country. They closed a school because of this and it’s even up for debate as to whether the status quo is acceptable? The right decision in this case is not mob opinion based on willful ignorance, but science and professional perspectives from medical professionals who actually know a thing or two on the subject.

  7. The board has presented a plan that is half baked. We got an email late yesterday stating out PreK student was to quarantine for 10 days because “someone” in the class had tested positive on the 27th. But if that was a hardship on the family the child can come back after 3 days-and some parents in our PreK students class dropped their kids off today because they had not received the email and the kids were accepted to stay. There is no real thought out plan. I also take issue with sporting events continuing. If we are going to mandate masks for the students then that implies we have a dire issue and events that bring in masses of people not only from Marble Falls, but other locations as well are also putting our kids at risk. I will be attending the next board meeting and look forward to a discussion that makes sense for this district.

    1. Bet a lot more parents will be attending all school board meetings from now on. Accountability is a good thing. Parents need to be involved in the decisions made regarding their children on every level. They better get more chairs brought in, they’re gonna need them.

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