High school students in Chicago suburb walk out over district's mask mandate

The group also rented a plane to fly a banner over the school urging the district to "unmask our kids."

Hannah Nightingale Washington DC

On Friday, a large group of students at Stevenson High School in the Chicago suburb of Lincolnshire staged a walkout over the school's mask mandates after a judge ruled against the state's school mask mandates earlier late last week.

Video of the walkout, taken by writer Marie Oakes of Westphalian News shows the unmasked high school students walking out of the building, greeted by a large group of supporters outside wielding signs.

On Friday, Sangamon County Circuit Judge Raylene Grischow granted a request from downstate attorney Tom DeVore to temporarily halt the state requirements for masking and quarantining in schools. The judge found the measures to be beyond the governor's authority, according to the Chicago Tribune.

"This court acknowledges the tragic toll the COVID-19 pandemic has taken, not only on this State, but throughout the nation and globe," Grischow wrote in the decision. "Nonetheless, it is the duty of the Courts to preserve the rule of law and ensure that all branches of government act within the boundaries of the authority granted under the Constitution."

Since then, numerous schools have dropped their mask mandates, switching to a mask optional approach. Hinsdale D86 was not one of these districts.

"We are walking out today to, not prove that masks are right or wrong, but it's about the power of choice," Gregory Abshire told ABC 7. "Everyone should have the choice whether or not they want to protect themselves and the school shouldn't be forcing this on us."

"All the parents here aren't saying, you know take masks out forever, we want a choice and I think that is fair," said Nina Sibo, protest co-organizer. "And I feel like we're at that point where it's time for a choice."

The group also rented a plane to fly a banner over the school urging the district to "unmask our kids."

According to Oakes, after the high school students left the building during the walkout, they were reportedly locked out of the building, with teachers placing signs against the windows with "disparaging remarks" on them.

Video shows the teens gathering outside, with some running with American flags outside the school building.

Despite a number of parents speaking out at a Thursday school board meeting, Hinsdale D86's board ultimately voted five to two to uphold the district's mask mandate, citing a flood of emails from parents in support of the requirement, according to ABC 7.

Earlier this week, Governor JB Pritzker announced a rollback of the state's mask mandate happening later this month, but it would not apply to schools.

Another group of students at an Illinois school staged a walkout over mask requirements. Students at Lake Park High School, Illinois, also held a walkout this morning in protest of mask mandates, Twitter account Libs of TikTok reported.

The Lake Park High School, in District 108, saw high school students stream out of the school building into the parking lot in protest. This after Superintendent Jeff Feucht issued an "Update on Mask Protocols" that read:

"Yesterday, the State of Illinois announced a shift to remove the indoor mask requirement throughout the state for most indoor spaces on Monday, February 28. Schools were specifically not included in this change. However, based on the Covid data, which was used to support this shift, the Lake Park High School District #108 administration has made the decision to transition to a mask-optional rule on this same date, Monday, February 28. After this date, we will continue to strongly recommend but will not require the wearing of face masks at school."


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