There was a contingent of virtual “torches and pitchforks” in the parking lot outside the Wayland High School Fine Arts Center before the school board meeting Monday night.
A group of between two and three dozen school district parents marched inside the facility together not wearing masks, even though the official notice of the meeting asked those attending to do so. It didn’t take long to understand why.
Led by Brett Butler, who has taken the school board to task in meetings earlier this year, they spoke in agreement that rules for wearing masks in school should be abandoned and getting Covid-19 vaccines should be optional. Many threatened to pull their children out of Wayland classrooms if current Covid restrictions are continued when the academic year 2021-22 begins.
Supt. Dr. Christina Hinds said the school district is planning to start the next school year without masks and five days a week in the classroom, unless otherwise directed.
Butler, who was not the first to speak, told the board, “For a long time, we’ve been talking about the science, but it is apparent no one is following the science.”
He said fewer than 200 school-aged children nationwide have died of the Coronavirus, “yet there were draconian measures taken. Adding that the only result was a negative learning environment, he asked, “What are we trying to protect?”
Stephanie Tromp demanded all mask regulations be rescinded and asked, “If masks work, why have a quarantine?”
She said the Covid regulations imposed by Wayland schools during the 2020-21 academic year created a poor social and educational environment for the students.
One woman said her son has ADHD and is being passed on to sixth grade. “He’s going to fail if we don’t get back to normal. We need to unmask our children and make vaccinations a choice… I can tell you we will not be getting vaccinated… You need to break your chains (from health dept, recommendations) and he the voice they needs to hear.”
She promised she’d pull her children from Wayland schools if they continue to insist on masking up, hybrid learning and other restrictions.
Holly Reurink said, “The hybrid was a disaster for my middle student,” who had no motivation to do his work and had trouble focusing and completing assignments.
“My children had a bare minimum of an education,” she asserted.
John Richardson expressed his “disgust with how last year has been handled, without the benefits of social interaction. We need science to justify this. What (good) is showing the dangers of going to school without a mask. Why haven’t parents been given scientific proof?”
Tamara Richardson insisted, “Children rarely get Covid and we have no proof these masks work. Many of the kids don’t wear them because they can’t breathe… My daughter comes home every day with a dirty, filthy mask.”
Another said, “I have trusted blindly the schools, but they have allowed the MDHHS (Michigan Dept. of Health and Human Services) and ACHD (Allegan County Health Department) to decide. They didn’t elect the board members.
“You have allowed the students to sit home three days a week. You have failed to stand up for us.”
Adam Boyd said, “Children account for very low incidences of deaths.” He said U.S. Sen. Rand Paul exposed Dr. Anthony Fauci for having connections to the Wuhan lab believed to be the source of the Coronavirus.
Teacher Sarah Rollandini said, “We learned the virus was less dangerous to children, but we were frightening them into believing an invisible virus was infecting them.
“How are they going to develop social skills when they can’t even see each other (with masks)?
She said children who studied remotely were making little or no progress and insisted, “This Covid craiziness has got to stop.”
Dr. Angela Sanders, an optical technician from North Muskegon, said she was asked to speak about the increasing cases of eye problems associated with wearing masks.
She told the group of maskless citizens, “Don’t give up, parents. We’ve got to continue the fight.”
Another mother insisted her child has been told about dental problems caused by too much mask wearing.