Anti-mask protesters dismayed by new CMS board vote requiring masks indoors this fall

·2 min read

Shouts of “disenroll” and “lies” came from a group of anti-mask protesters on Friday morning at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools board meeting, where the board voted to require face masks indoors at schools this fall.

Around 35 people attended the meeting, most of whom opposed the mask mandate in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Many were members of “Moms for Liberty,” an organization that advocates for parental rights to influence educational policies affecting their children.

“We are not co-parenting with the government. We don’t want muzzles on our children,” Brooke Weis, chairwoman of the group’s Mecklenburg chapter, told The Observer. “Gov. Cooper doesn’t care what parents think, he doesn’t want us to have any control over the curriculum or masks or the vaccines. He just wants to make all of our decisions for us.”

Weis was joined by about two rows of parents, some of whom had brought their young children, who were holding signs too. None of the members of the group were wearing masks.

A number of signs had anti-mask messages on one side and anti-critical race theory messages on the other.

People show up with signs at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school meeting on Friday, July 30, 2021. The board approved a recommendation to require face masks for all students and staff when classes start next month. CMS will be one of the few local districts to do so.
People show up with signs at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school meeting on Friday, July 30, 2021. The board approved a recommendation to require face masks for all students and staff when classes start next month. CMS will be one of the few local districts to do so.

CMS board votes to require masks for students, staff when classes resume next month

Disrupting the meeting

During the meeting, protester Anne Peacock yelled “lies” and “incomplete data” while school officials were talking. Peacock told The Observer she does not have any children in the CMS system.

Someone from the anti-mask crowd yelled “fear-monger” at Dr. Meg Sullivan, the county medical director, as she shared data on increased incidences of covid among children.

‘Teachers’ Lives Matter’

Not all of the people in the audience opposed the mask mandate.

One woman, Dawne Cornelius, sat alone in a red shirt that read “Teachers’ Lives Matter.” She clapped loudly in response to school board members stating the importance of mask-wearing for community protection.

Former teacher Dawne Cornelius attended the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school meeting on Friday, July 30, 2021, in support of a mask-mandate.
Former teacher Dawne Cornelius attended the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school meeting on Friday, July 30, 2021, in support of a mask-mandate.

Cornelius is a tutor and former CMS teacher.

“I’m in support of kids wearing masks... I’ve worked with a student who was not old enough to be vaccinated who got sick, and the whole family got infected,” she said. “A parent is on life support with COVID right now and they don’t know if she’s going to make it. The student is still experiencing long-term effects.”

As the board prepared to vote on the issue, a protester holding a sign reading “OBEY” shouted, “What about the psychological effects?”

Cornelius just shook her head.

“They’re talking about the psychological effects of masks. How about the psychological effects of your child ending up in the hospital on a ventilator?” she asked. “Then you are really going to have psychological problems.”

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