American News May 15, 2021 10:15 PM EST

Wisconsin high school gives students truancy charges for anti-mask protest

Dozens of high school students in Wisconsin protested the requirement to wear masks even outdoors, and the school board decided to make an example of them.

Wisconsin high school gives students truancy charges for anti-mask protest
Brendan Boucher Ottawa, ON
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Dozens of high school students in Wisconsin protested the requirement to wear masks even outdoors, and the school board decided to make an example of them.

Multiple students in Wisconsin’s Tomahawk School District have been fined and slapped with truancy charges for an outdoor protest against the school district's mask policy, according to The Federalist. The policy requires masks to be worn at all times on school property. The kids were fined $98.60 each despite their parents calling the school to excuse their absences. The students are unsatisfied with the school district's approach to public outcry against the mask mandate.

The demonstrations began on May 3rd, with students demanding an end to the mandatory mask policy on all school property. The largest rally, May 5th, drew over 50 students from the high school who protested outside after they were not satisfied with a meeting held with school administrations. The students claim they were not listened to in the meeting and it was simply lip service.

During the May 5 demonstration, billed as "No Mask Monday,” students were met by a school resource officer, and the officer told them to either put their masks on and go to class or be asked to leave. Forty-eight went to class, while two decided to disobey the officer's demands and were sent home.

The reason for the May 5th protest was a meeting that’s been called "fruitless," where students were given 20 minutes to state their case to administrators and then told to put their masks on and go to class. "The whole point of the meeting was so we could show our input and our opinions, and they completely threw that away and made us put masks on right after the meeting," John Hawley, one of the students sent home, told WJFW-TV.

The protests stopped May 7 after the school board added the mask mandate to their May 11 meeting agenda. The school board decided to end the mask mandate in the meeting, but only on June 7, the day after classes end. The school board plans to review the decision during their next meeting at the end of May.

Officials in the same district cancelled an in-person meeting and called the police after multiple members of the public showed up without wearing masks. The superintendent called the police chief Al Elvins who told him, "It’s a public meeting, open to the public. We are not enforcing people not wearing a mask. There was no crime committed. Now, if there had been disorderly conduct, that would have been a different situation. It’s not going to be used as an intimidation device.""This whole thing has gotten out of hand, and for what?" Hawley added during his interview. In a statement, Tomahawk School District told WJFW-TV that the district follows all CDC guidelines. Hence, it remains unclear whether the district will change their mask-wearing rules in compliance with the new CDC guidelines released Thursday.

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