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Iberia Parish faces pushback on masks in schools

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Posted at 12:02 AM, Aug 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-19 01:02:44-04

NEW IBERIA, La. — Some parents in Iberia Parish say they refuse to co-parent with the government.

The issue at hand, the school system is mandating students and staff must wear masks indoors. This is from following the governor’s mask mandate, active statewide.

Parents KATC spoke with believe the school board can’t tell them what to do with their child’s health.

There was a school board meeting on Wednesday. They say when they showed up to the school board meeting – they were told to leave if they did not have a mask on.

KATC spoke to school board member Raymond Lewis who says the reason the parents were not allowed to be in the building is that they violated the statewide mask mandate put in effect by the governor.

Meanwhile, Michael Richard, a parent in Iberia Parish says he wants the choice of masking up or not.

“We want our child to have the freedom,” he said. “If he wants to wear a mask, he should be able to pick that, or we should be able to pick that, but it shouldn’t be forced upon him to suffer with a mask on all day in school.”

Starting August 4, the CDC recommends “universal indoor masking for all students, staff, teachers, and visitors to k-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status,” according to the CDC’s site.

Children below the age of 12 can not get the shot, so the CDC suggests other ways to prevent the virus from spreading, like social distancing and masks.

But parents aren’t giving up their fight.

KATC’s Victor Jorges asked parents: if they thought the vaccine or masks didn’t work, what did they think worked?

"You can avoid it,” said Richard. “If the masks work so great, they can wear it. If they believe the vaccine works, they can take it, but don’t force it on us.”

But, according to the CDC, masks and vaccines do work.

The vaccine teaches your body how to fight the virus, and masks help prevent the spread.

Still, the state is seeing a rise in COVID-19 cases among young people. In the week ending on August 11 – more than 1,700 toddlers up to age four tested positive for the virus.

In that same week – nearly 5,800 kids ages 5 to 17 tested positive, according to LDH.

Lewis says it came down to parents not being allowed to make public comments because the issue of masks was not on this agenda. He says it will be on the upcoming agenda, but parents who wish to participate will have to abide by the mask mandate.

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