August 19, 2021 (Photo Credit:  Friends of RECONNECT SE Idaho, FB)

Residents protest against mask mandates prior to SD25 Board meeting (Photo Credit: Friends of RECONNECT SE Idaho, FB)

More than 70 local residents; parents, grandparents, educators, and children, turned out on Tuesday, August 17, to let the Pocatello/Chubbuck SD25 School Board know that they were not willing to see children subjected to another year of wearing masks in school.

Carrying signs opposing any mask mandate, the group stood in front of the school district’s office on Pole Line Road prior to the start of the meeting.  Many passing cars honked in support of the protest.

Due to the number of people that turned out against mask mandates, about 20 were asked to go to another room to watch the proceedings.  The room where the Board met was packed, mostly with people opposing the mask mandate.  Speaking to the issue, those opposed to a mask mandate outnumbered those in support by a ratio of ten to one.

Taking up the issue, the Board voted to recommend mask wearing, but make it optional for students, staff, and visitors to all SD25 facilities.

Katie Leavitt, one of the organizers of the group speaking out in support of parent choice regarding masks, responded to the vote, saying, “Parent and family choice matters, we are pleased with the SD25 vote and hope that the administrators know we have compassion for them in these difficult decisions.  Where the science is inconclusive and evolving, personal freedom is more important than ever.”

Deanna Judy, candidate for school board this fall in Zone 5, expressed her support for the parents in attendance.  She said, “I join with the parents in school district 25 in thanking the school board for listening to the concerns of parents and teachers in our district.  These are difficult times, and struggles of individuals and families are unique.  My hope is that going forward, the right of parents to choose what is best for their children will guide future decisions.”


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