KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Knox County School Board met Wednesday for the first time since a federal judge ordered Knox County Schools to enforce a mask mandate. To some parents disappointment, that topic was not on the agenda, meaning public forum speakers could not speak about it.
Though they were not able to vocalize their thoughts, some parents made their message clear with signs.
One parent shared her thoughts before the meeting. Marleen Naab says it wasn’t so much about the masks for her, but the fact that parents did not have choices anymore.
“My issue lies in the lack of choice and taking the right to choose away from parents,” Naab said. “Last year we were at least given the choice. We knew ahead of time masks would be required for in-person learning and that if we did not want our kids wearing masks that they would have the option to do virtual.
“Unfortunately in this situation right now that choice has completely been taken away. So the only choice we have is either put our kids in masks or they get no education.”
District 3 board member Daniel Watson says the board is limited in what they can say about the matter.
“I think it’s really critical for the public to know that because this is pending litigation, even our attorneys can’t come out and make public statements,” Watson said. “So it’s not that anybody is trying to hide something. We just can’t do that. This is a federal judge’s order. He does have jurisdiction over (American Disabilities Act) law and has every right to interpret that, and KCS would be in contempt if we chose not to follow it.”
Until next week, parents will have to find another way to express their grievances to the board. The next meeting is Oct. 6. Public forum speakers will have the opportunity to address the board about the mask mandate at the meeting.