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Mask Mandate? Local group says ‘no’ ahead of PHM School Board vote

Published: Jul. 30, 2021 at 5:34 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - On Friday, a group of around 20 people gathered outside the Penn Harris Madison Schools’ Administration Building to let leaders know they don’t want a mask mandate this school year.

They want the decision to wear a mask to be left up to parents, saying it should be a choice. Also, voicing concerns about critical race theory and school curriculum.

“Well because with everything in the national news and we elect our board members, that is where we have a say. Our children attend school here. We don’t get to elect the people at the CDC. We don’t get to elect the people at the state level. So our voice can be heard with our school board, we would like them to listen to our concerns,” Anastasia Glassburn with ‘Strengthen Our Schools-PHM District’ says.

So what are those concerns? Well judging by all the signs at the rally it is pretty clear they don’t want a mask mandate for PHM schools.

“I mean, everybody has always been allowed to wear a mask if they’ve wanted to and we believe that if you would like to mask your child that’s your choice,” Glassburn adds.

There is also a fear that critical race theory will be taught in schools, that’s a theory that examines how race, power and politics intersect in the United States.

https://www.wndu.com/2021/07/20/what-is-critical-race-theory-why-is-there-so-much-controversy-surrounding-it/

“PHM has came out and said that they are not supporting critical race theory or teaching it in the classrooms but we are finding that there are some undertones and tenets of critical race theory found in their curriculum,” Glassburn says. “It’s a very divisive curriculum. It divides children based on race and we don’t believe that.”

Here is an overview of the curriculum the group is referring to: https://www.phmschools.org/sites/phmschools.org/files/sel_curriculum_map_for_high_school_-_20-21_sy.pdf

As for the issue with masking up, what about student’s safety? So, I posed a question to one of the participants at Friday’s rally”

I asked: “If they said well they should mandate the masks for all the students and the staff, everybody in the school corporation because this virus has proven deadly and it could keep people safe, what would you say to that?”

“This virus and this vaccine haven’t proven anything. The data is so all over the map. You can definitely find studies that say that masks are ineffective, as a matter of fact they’re causing a lot of health problems on their own,” Kelly Havens says. She is also with Strengthen Our Schools-PHM District

However, the CDC says otherwise, they are recommending students, teachers, and staff in grades K-12 mask up this school year.

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/index.html

The PHM School Board will decide on COVID safety measures for this school year at their August 9th meeting.

“I do know that there are some parents who will be pulling their children if masks are mandated,” Glassburn says.

As for whether or not Critical Race Theory is actually a part of the school corporations curriculum, there will be a couple informational workshops next week to discuss that issue. More information can be found here: https://www.phmschools.org/news/jul-2021/update-community-information-sessions-july-23-2021

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