Parents sue the School District of Lee County over masks


Lei Garcia

Jazmine Fajardo, Kendall Hannan, Mia Johnson, and Carolina Espejo pictured wearing masks at school.

Four concerned parents are suing the Lee County School Board for mandating their children wear a mask to school.

Due to the Corona Virus, school policies have had to be changed this year in order to keep the staff and students safe. Masks were made mandatory and the practice of social distancing at school was put into effect.

“That was the superintendent’s decision that everyone had to wear masks. His decisions were based on the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) and the department of health. As I was saying in our meeting on Tuesday night, I know we’re not going to make the people happy all the time, but they have to realize that we have to have some guidelines,” Lee County board member, Gwynetta Gittens stated.

At the meeting on October 6th, parents argued that masks were causing their children to become ill and have nose bleeds. Parents also argued to the board that the requirement of wearing masks to school every day was unconstitutional in the state of Florida.

“I wouldn’t feel safe knowing that students have the option to not wear a mask. There are already cases in our school with masks being mandatory; imagine how it would be if masks were not mandatory,” sophomore Ashlynn Parra stated.

There are also students who feel as if given the opportunity to optionally wear a mask, would be okay coming to school face to face.

“I think I would feel more comfortable without the masks at school. I think it hinders our learning experience and is just uncomfortable,” Freshman Charles Hartlieb stated.

Hand sanitizing machines were placed all across the hallways. Teachers were supplied bottles of disinfectant. Arrows are placed on the floor to help the flow of direction in the one-way hallways. All of this in order to keep students at Cape High safe.

Despite all these precautions, the mandatory use of masks during the school day is the most controversial one. “The confusion with the policy is all the people that didn’t want masks were thinking this policy was to mandate masks. And that’s not quite what it was for. It basically says in any situation that may come up, that’s an emergency, that we’re told by medical professionals of the state, the CDC and local physicians and doctors, that we will follow what they say,” Gittens stated.

Many thought that the masks would be mandatory forever and were not pleased by that idea. “So people thought ‘oh no they are just making it a policy that’s going to be there forever.’ And if you listen to the people that were talking Tuesday night, they were saying that now you’re making it permanent, but it’s not,” Gittens said.

Besides the students, teachers are also struggling with wearing masks. Teachers speak and teach classes all day while wearing one. And they are at just as high of a risk as the students are for catching covid.

“I will be wearing my mask all year until we get rid of the virus. Even though sometimes it’s hard to breathe, I know it is for our own benefit, so I don’t mind wearing masks. I am using the microphone to help me with the volume of my voice,” Spanish teacher, Gretel Matos said.