GRAND JUNCTION, Colo (KREX) — Adrenaline and pressure went from zero to hundred quickly at Tuesday night’s School District 51 board meeting, with mask changes hanging in the balance. The newest board members, Andrea Haitz, Anglea Lema, and Will Jones have pushed the “Free to Choose” mask policy agenda.
Haitz says, “this just has to be in the parent’s hands, they are the expert, they get to go confer with their doctor and figure this out.” In fact, no medical experts attended. Lema says, “parents have A, the choice to have their child vaccinated if they chose, and B, that we had masks available for those that want to stay in them.”
Longtime board member Doug Levinson says both the district and county health department established clear guidelines, now those are out the window. Levinson says, “we told folks, we were going to follow certain criteria and now that it faces us, we have the criteria and has not been met, we have a date looming and so we can’t have it both ways, right?”
As he and the superintendent and assistant superintendent spoke, angry crowd members interrupted and yelled. The volatile crowd represents about 200 parents. A District 51 parent, says, “you never should have been able to forcefully cover a kid’s face in the beginning.”
Another District 51 parent says, “our children have sacrificed a lot to protect this, now it’s time for us to give them their childhood back.” There are thousands of D-51 parents who have not weighed in as the board proceeded to take the vote they said would not happen.
The final vote was 3-2 in favor of the “Free to Choose” mask policy. With newly elected board members holding a one-member majority, the new policy passed. February 7th the district will end any mask requirements regardless of how high COVID-19 case counts go.