Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Several students separated at Racine County Middle School for not wearing masks


Parents, students protest mask mandate at Fox River Middle School, district administrators respond

Several students at Fox River Middle School in Waterford said they were isolated in rooms Monday after refusing to wear masks.

"He had made a comment about feeling like he was being treated like an animal," said Katie Guardiola, a parent to a 7th grader at the school. "Initially, I knew they were in the library — I think with a group. So that was sufficient. But it clearly turned into a punishment instead of an accommodation."

The Waterford School District notified families Friday a mask mandate would go into place Monday. District Administrators told 12 News this is due to the school having six positive COVID-19 cases and 31 people out for contact tracing.

"If we have kids masked, we can keep them in school, we don't have to send them home for close contact. " said District Administrator Ed Brzinski. "So if we're distanced, and they have a mask on, they're staying in school, and that's our goal."

Brzinski said there are already the same number of cases district-wide within 13 days as there were in three months last year.

Parents and students protested outside of the school Monday afternoon.

"A table, four chairs and one window behind me," 12-year-old Thiago Guardiola said as he described the room in which he said he spent hours alone. "I was pretty bored, and I kind of felt upset because I was in there all alone, and I thought it was my right to do what I wanted."

Initially, the students who declined to wear masks were placed in the library. It's unclear what led to the students being isolated in separate rooms. The district administrator declined to comment on those details.

"The kids shouldn't be treated like that's a punishment," said Guardiola. "I think my son felt like a prisoner all day. So it was a big deal. Unfair, and I, at least, should have been notified if he was going to be secluded like that."

Parents were notified Monday morning via email that the school would provide their child a location in the building to ensure they are able to learn. Parents said they did not think their kid would be in a small room alone.

As of now the mandate is temporary. Brzinski told 12 News the district will re-evaluate the mandate in 10 days.

"If somebody accuses me of being too safe, I'm okay with that," said Brzinski.

He said there will be a dedicated class space for the students who choose to not wear masks moving forward.

See more: https://www.wisn.com/article/several-students-separated-at-racine-county-middle-school-for-not-wearing-masks/37671409

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