YOUNGSVILLE, La. — As kids gather their supplies to go back to school next on August 12, some parents are making sure masks won’t make it in their backpacks.
The issue of wearing a mask has become a heated debate.
KATC has learned about forms released by Attorney General Jeff Landry aiming to exempt people from “requirements related to the Covid-19 virus.”
Now, some parents are leaning on these forms to get out of sending their kids to school with a mask on their faces.
The office of the Attorney General has published two forms. One is to be used for exemption based on sincerely held religious beliefs, and the other is based on philosophical objections. Both claim those believes make it impossible for the applicant’s child to comply with Covid-19 policies.
KATC spoke to a parent using this form; he says he is being discriminated against.
“The school board is discriminating on us people that have religious beliefs,” said Brandon Rodrigue from Youngsville. “Not just that, but also philosophical beliefs as well.”
Rodrigue is a father of four and says the forms are "legit". His oldest is 12 years old, and when asked if he and his family would get the vaccine. He said no.
He says he’s filling out this form because he is a Native American, and wearing a mask goes against his beliefs.
“There are natural things to do, putting a mask in front of your face is only hurting you more than it is actually protecting you... That’s the way I feel, that’s my belief,” he said.
By signing this form, parents would “not consent to forced immunization or face coverings on my healthy child, who is at minimal risk of hospitalization or death from Covid.”
But, in the week ending on July 28, more than 4,500 children ages 5 through 17 tested positive for the virus, according to the state's health department.
Rodrigue says, regardless of whether the school system accepts this form, his kids will not be following the mandate.
“They will not be wearing a mask,” he said. “My kids will show up without a mask on. And I’m not going to be the only parents.”
KATC reached out to the Lafayette Parish School System to find out if they had received any of these forms. A spokesperson tells me, it is the first time they are hearing of the forms and will be checking into this matter.
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