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Parent ripped mask off teacher during back-to-school event, superintendent says

Published: Aug. 18, 2021 at 9:49 AM MST
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AUSTIN, Texas (KEYE) - Confrontations over masks have already started at a school in Texas, and it wasn’t even in session.

The superintendent says it happened at a “meet the teacher” event.

A day before Eanes ISD returns to 100% in-person school for the first time since the start of the pandemic, families held a rally outside the administration building against the district’s mask policy.

“I do not want masks to be forced on my children,” said the rally’s organizer, Jennifer Stevens.

Stevens claimed most families in the district are vaccinated. However, those under the age of 12 are not eligible for the vaccine.

The whole premise of the vaccine and the mask was to keep you from dying, not to you keep you from getting sick,” Stevens said. “Kids are going to get sick; adults are going to get sick. We’re going to get strep throat, we’re going to get the flu, pneumonia. I mean, viruses are among us. We can’t stop living right.”

The rally comes after Superintendent Dr. Tom Leonard informed the community that two teachers were assaulted by parents at the event Tuesday.

He said one teacher was verbally assaulted by a parent who said they couldn’t hear the teacher because of the face covering.

Another teacher was physically assaulted when a parent ripped a mask off the teacher’s face, which is worn to protect them and others.

“Even if you don’t believe that, at least respect the person who is wearing the mask,” Leonard said.

Leonard said the teachers involved are doing well, because they’re resilient and the district is having conversations with the parents.

“If we have to go down some legal paths, we’ll go down some legal paths,” he said.

Leonard said there won’t be any student suspensions for those not wearing face coverings, and staff won’t act as mask police to enforce the mandate. The district can really can only encourage masks while the community is in Stage 5 right now.

“They are in the front lines of teaching kids during a pandemic,” he said. “Let’s give them a little space and a little grace, please.”

The district said it is following the current Travis County order, which is in effect and will remain so unless a higher court overturns it.

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