KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Parents with kids in Knox County Schools had a lot to say about the federal court order requiring masks for students and staff.
“It should have been mandated from the start,” said Amanda Gillen, a mother with three kids in Knox County Schools. She is also a member of the Facebook group Knoxville Parents Against COVID. Gillen said she believed in the federal order. “Even though they go to school masked they are surrounded by several kids who are not masked,” she said of how her own kids have been impacted since the start of the school year.
She also said she felt the order shows this is much bigger than just the families who filed suit against Governor Bill Lee. “People are looking at this like four families, we’re making these decisions for four families, that is not true,” said Gillen. “There are a lot of people, teachers, families, and students that are being affected by this.”
Fellow KCS parent Heather Carroll has two kids in the district and said she is against the federal order. “Some parents think masking their kids is the right thing — then that’s their choice,” Carroll began. “I’m just asking for that same freedom for my children.”
Carroll added that as of Monday she doesn’t plan to send her children back to their school and is instead looking into other schooling options. “We’re not going to mask our kids, so that means they just don’t go to school or we find other schooling options,” she said. “How long is this even going to play out?”
She added that no matter how long things play out, Carroll says she wants action taken in the right way. “I can safely say that none of us condone any acts of violence, extremism, or disruption.”
Both mothers, while they want different results, believe all KCS parents just want what is best for their kids.
“We don’t see eye to eye on this issue, it’s a hot topic, but I recognize that you’re still a great parent just like I’m a good parent,” said Carroll.
“I just truly think everybody should come together and do what is best for our students and our teachers,” said Gillen.