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United Against Mask Mandate: Union Parents Speak Out at School Board Meeting

Friday, September 17, 2021 @ 12:09 AM

Posted by Leon Aristeguieta

image 2RIMERSBURG, Pa. (EYT) – During the September 16 Union School Board meeting, concerned parents voiced their displeasure towards the district for enforcing the state-mandated masking requirement in schools.

(Pictured above: Anissa Ferringer speaks to the school board about the mask mandate.)

“I’m concerned for the future of education,” Don Kimball, a small business owner from Sligo, told the school board. “The mask mandate does not have the force of law behind it. The mandate and the threats seep of politics.”

Kimball’s main concern was the school board lacked the will to fight the state government on the mask mandate.

“I expect you to be principled and fight for our children. I expect you to put their welfare first of all. If it comes to my child’s welfare or yours, I expect you to sacrifice yours. We expect the same from the security guard out front, we expect the same from teachers in the classroom and we expect the same from you,” said Kimball. “Maybe you don’t agree with this expectation.”

Kimball, who has three children attending Union School District, told exploreClarion.com that the personal liability school board members and administrators are threatened with for not implementing the masking order is a false threat.

“There’s no example of that,” he said. “There’s no one who’s been sued for that because (the mandate) is illegal. There’s no liability.”

Echoing a common refrain among parents who oppose the mask mandate, Kimball threatened to put his children into cyber school and said the school needs to beware before issues like the mask mandate make it obsolete.

“I am a product of long-distance learning. My wife is a product of long-distance learning. My wife and I are some of the earliest examples of distance learning,” explained Kimball. “The opportunities for cyber school are growing. This reminds me of Sears, formerly the largest retailer in the nation.”

During his speech to the board, Kimball ran out of speaking time. However, multiple audience members gave him their speaking privileges for him to be able to finish.

“Does anybody want me to continue!” yelled Kimball into the crowd when his time ran up, for which he got a rousing response.

“I feel for you because maybe you never expected to have to fight this fight. Maybe you’re not willing to make the sacrifices necessary for our children and their future. If that’s the case, let someone in whose willing to take up this fight. Let them take your place,” concluded Kimball.


(Pictured above: Don Kimball delivers his remarks to the Union School Board regarding the mask mandate.)

Another Union parent, Anissa Ferringer of Shamburg, echoed many of the points Kimball made.

“Set the example of perseverance,” Ferringer said. “Are you here because you have a burning interest in what the basketball team wears, or are you here because you have something of value to give to the students?

“If that’s the case, stand up for your own capacity and the position you’re serving in today. Stand up for local governments. Resign if you can’t.”

Ferringer made the point parents are the best arbiters of when their kids needed a mask.

“Trust parents to make the best choices for their children, to know if the mask is going to increase or decrease that child’s health, that child’s fear. Do not be dismayed by threats that lack precedent,” she said.

“When we give up control over making decisions for our children, we have essentially given up on our child as parents and educators,” said Shannon Rumbarger of Rimersburg to the school board. “Now it’s masks. What’s next – vaccines?

“Parents are our children’s first and best advocates, and we will not stand idly by while our children’s rights and freedoms are taken away.”

Union School Superintendent John Kimmel told exploreClarion.com, “I think it’s been clear from the beginning most of our community is not in favor of the mask mandate.

“Unfortunately, we’ve been put in a very terrible position by our state government making us follow a mandate that they put in place that our community does not agree with by and large.”

Regardless, Kimmel said Union School will be following the mask policy outlined by his letter on the district’s website, found here.

In the letter, Kimmel states the district will honor parent affidavit forms as legitimate exemptions from the mandate until September 17. Starting September 20, students will need a doctor’s note and to have met with a school 504 coordinator to qualify for an exemption to the mandate.

RELATED:

Union School Board Debates Mask Mandate, Addresses Dress Code Enforcement

Pennsylvania Mask Mandate For Schools Starts Today


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