DANSVILLE, Mich. — A small group of parents and students are gathered outside of Dansville Middle School on Friday morning to protest mask mandates in schools.
“We’re out here protesting against the masks because we believe that we have a choice in what we wear on our face and what not to," said Jared Bristle, a student at Dansville Public Schools who attended the protest.
The protest was one of many happening across the country. Bristle said he joined because he's hoping school officials will give students a choice over masks.
“Like if people want to wear masks, they can wear a mask but if you don’t want to I feel like you have the freedom.. It’s important because it’s just against our freedom," he said.
An Ingham County Health Department order requiring masks in schools went into effect on Tuesday, though many schools in the county had requirements in place earlier.
The group Friday morning included three parents who organized the rally on Facebook and about a dozen students. The group brought signs and stood outside the superintendent's office.
A student named Adrianne, who participated in the protest and asked that we only use her first name, drove students around the grounds in the back of truck.
“Last week we didn’t have to wear masks, I believe another school didn’t have to wear masks either and now they’re putting out more mandates and we just don’t think its fair to to the kids," she said.
She said it's difficult to play sports in a mask.
“I play cross country and track, and at one point they tried to make us wear masks immediately when we stopped running, and it caused so many problems. I know there's at least a kid who threw up and almost choked because she was wearing the mask, and that's just not safe for any of us," Adrianne said.
An Ingham County Sheriff's deputy came and spoke to the group in response to students driving around the school without seat belts. He told attendees they could express their thoughts but couldn't drive around in an unsafe manner. None of the the parents were willing to talk on camera out of concern for repercussions. But students were vocal about why they were there.
“I am here today simply because I do not want to wear a mask anymore and I do not think this mandate is fair because our school only has one COVID case," said Jenna Schild, a student and protest attendee.
The Ingham County Health Department confirmed the single case at Dansville High School.
Dansville Schools Superintendent Amy Hodgson declined to comment on the protest.
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