The boy, later identified as John, begins by describing himself as a student at Felix A. Williams Elementary school in Martin County.
“Please make masks optional today,” he said. “It would be so awesome to end the school year on a really happy note like that.”
Following his remarks, the board voted 4-1 to keep masks mandatory for only the 12 remaining days of the current school year. Masks will become optional for summer school students beginning June 1.
In two minutes and 43 seconds, John makes an appeal to the board to end the mandate, claiming that an unmasked teacher has repeatedly ordered him and other students to keep their masks on when they attempt to drink water outside.
“She had her mask down the entire time while she was yelling at us, which makes me and all my friends very mad,” he said. “This happens a lot, and it seems unfair teachers take their masks off while they yell at us kids and that we need to pull ours up. I asked my mom if there is a word for this, and she said there is: ‘hypocrisy.’”
He said extended mask-wearing gave him headaches and made him feel “claustrophobic,” and argued that masks often stick to his face in the Florida heat, causing him anxiety and stress.
“All of this seems unfair, and it doesn’t make sense,” the boy told board members. “I miss seeing people’s faces. I miss the way things used to be. I’m scared they’ll never go back to normal. Breathing freely doesn’t seem like something we should have to ask any other people for permission for.”
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