PALATINE, Ill. - Sparks flew at a suburban school board meeting Thursday night over kids and masks. Some parents do not want their children wearing masks next school year.
Right now, the Illinois Department of Public Health and Illinois State Board of Education require that students wear masks in schools. There are some exceptions, including when eating and when they are socially distant outside.
But come fall, some parents with kids in Township High School District 211 want their children to have the option not to wear one at all.
"Forcing our District 211 children to wear masks all day puts their health in jeopardy," said one parent at the Thursday evening school board meeting.
"Many parents are already researching and hiring legal counsel, should you continue to intimidate and try to force masks," said another parent.
Some parents in Township High School District 211 feel that masks are divisive, distracting and keep their kids from properly being able to interact with others.
"Emotionally it makes things harder for them," said parent Kim Pinkerman.
"Masks must be option for our kids without discrimination," said parent Kristen Steel.
But a recent study from the CDC shows that mask wearing in school by teachers and students results in a decrease in the spread of COVID-19.
"I think it's really premature to go unmasking children, especially if they haven't been vaccinated," said Dr. Richard Novak, Chief of Infectious Diseases at UIC.
Dr. Novak says it is premature to unmask kids in schools.
"If they're unvaccinated, they're susceptible, they will bring– they'll catch whatever viruses are prevalent at the time," said Novak.
In a statement, Township High School District 211 says it values the concerns of the community, but will continue to follow the guidelines and recommendations of the Illinois State Board of Education, the Illinois Department of Public Health, the Cook County Department of Public Health and the Illinois High School Association.
"To me that's not an answer, that's not data," said Steel. "It's an excuse."
District 211 also said that the Illinois State Board of Education and the Illinois Department of Public Health safety protocols for next school year have not yet been released.