A group of parents and students gathered outside Stevenson High School to protest the district’s mask requirement Friday morning.
Gregory Abshire walked out of the building with dozens of other classmates.
Abshire said: “We are out today, not to prove that masks are right or wrong, but about the power of choice. “People should have a choice about whether they want to protect themselves and schools shouldn’t force us to do this.”
The group chartered a plane to fly over the Lincolnshire school with a banner calling on the district to “unmask our kids.”
“All the parents here don’t say, you know, take the mask off forever, we want a choice and I think,” said Nina Sibo, co-organizer of the rally. that’s fair,” said Nina Sibo, a co-organizer of the rally. “And I feel like it’s time for us to choose.”
Stevenson student Jake Shapiro plans to leave his mask behind.
“It’s fine,” he said. “We still get along and everything. You know, all is well. We respect our differences.”
As of Friday, students at Batavia High School are not required to wear masks. County officials say they prefer people to wear masks, but they say they can’t enforce that rule and it has become a major distraction.
“We have a job: educate students,” said District 101 Supt. Lisa Hichens said. “And this week, it’s been increasing every day and the learning is backing off.”
Batavia school officials said that while they are making masks optional at this time, all other COVID mitigation strategies are in place. And if the COVID numbers go wrong, they will consider making masks mandatory again.
Several parents and students also protested outside Neuqua Valley High School in Naperville on Friday morning, where the district is enforcing a mask-wearing policy for all students. Protesters say they are violating a ruling last week that downplayed Governor JB Pritzker’s mandate.
“It’s unfortunate that parents are having to sue this on their own,” said parent Jeff Berger. “Students are protesting peacefully to show their disdain for what’s going on.”
Jeff Berger said if the appeals court comes up with regulations in favor of mask-wearing next week, they will follow the law.
Libby Martinson, a senior at Metea Valley High School, said Aurora School suspended her for refusing to wear a mask in class.
“When I said I couldn’t miss any more classes, I had a right to be here, I assumed they would let me stay,” Martinson said.
“We were a bit shocked,” said her mother, Beth Martinson. “We didn’t expect her to be asked to leave and certainly not a threat of arrest.”
Meanwhile, Friday had more fallout. Geneva District 304 confirmed that two school board members have resigned, one citing poor decision making by top officials for the Kane County Chronicle.
In Hampshire’s 300th District in the far northwest suburbs, the high school switched to online learning on Friday. Officials said it was because of safety concerns with social media that “threatened to disrupt the educational environment.”
Additionally, Kaneland County 302 in Southwest Kane County canceled Friday’s class so administrators can plan mitigation strategies.
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