D51 school board meeting includes student mask mandate protests

Local News

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.

The District 51 school board meeting started with congratulating students for outstanding success by way of accolades and applause. But, once they got to audience comments it quickly led to protests. One parent of a D51 student says, “At what point do we say we have lost enough children to COVID that never had COVID?

Among the audience members protesting are a mother and her daughter who was kicked out of high school for breaking the mask mandate. Laura Hutchins says, “For over a year now she’s been battling the mask mandates, the indoctrinations, the critical race theories in the school, and today(Tuesday, April 20) she was asked to leave Palisade High School for the remainder of the year.”

Her daughter’s answer to the expulsion is to address the school board in person with a rebuttal with her mom close by. “I am here in support of her, and asking other parents, community members, business owners, students to stand up, fight back and realize your rights, realize you’re Americans and that you have freedom and you can make a choice. You are free to choose,” said Hutchins.

There are 48 items on the agenda for the school board meeting and item 14 is slated for audience comments, and about a half a dozen audience members are addressing the school board for mask wearing grievances, but the school board says it’s not their decision. D51 Superintendent, Diana Sirko, says, “We visited with Dr. Kuhr from the health department. The governor also announced, when he announced he would lift it (mask mandate) for adults, he also said just a reminder students and elementary students and high school students, or K-12 students are not exempt from that.”

The state has recently seen a rise in COVID-19 cases which some are calling the next wave in Colorado and this wave is hitting the youth. “We do have one of our schools that’s developing a high case load right now that we’re really watching closely. That’s an elementary school,” said Sirko.

At the end of the meeting everyone has the same goal, protect our children. “As someone who has slit my wrists as a child, as a youth because I couldn’t figure out how to cope with my reality. I didn’t feel like I had any adults around me that could listen. I want kids to know, you’re not alone,” said Hutchins.

Superintendent Sirko says Colorado is a local control state and some districts aren’t following the mask mandate but the majority of districts still don’t have in-person learning.

Both Shyra and her mom Laura are asking the community to come out to Longs Family Memorial Park this Monday, April 26 from 9am-3pm for community support for our kid’s freedom to choose.

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