Blue Valley schools hold hearing on mask policy

Blue Valley Schools
Posted at 12:59 PM, Apr 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-07 13:59:16-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Blue Valley schools held a hearing on its COVID-19 policy Wednesday morning.

Kansas Senate Bill 40 allows members of the school community to request a hearing on policies that has to be held within a matter of days or else a civil suit can be filed against the district and the policy goes before a judge.

Blue Valley was originally supposed to hold its hearing Tuesday, but the meeting was halted early on because someone in attendance refused to wear a mask.

The Wednesday meeting was held virtually, and at least one of the complainants said that the delay of the meeting meant her grievance was not heard in the 72-hour period.

"I am not anti-mask. I believe masking can be beneficial for protecting high-risk populations and those who are immuno-compromised. I do object to placing the heavy burden of controlling the spread of COVID 19 on our most vulnerable population are children who are incapable of carrying out this policy effectively. Kids do not wear masks properly, they eat them and upon them, they come home moist and covered in filth, a breeding ground for bacteria," Julie Myrick said.

She went on to claim one of her sons has reported dizziness and difficulty breathing since having to wear a mask for seven hours per day. She said her other son has experienced increased anxiety and difficulty breathing, and that it could trigger that child's epilepsy.

Myrick's argument is that children are not required to mask when playing sports after school and there is no evidence districts with no mask mandate have a higher occurrence of COVID-19 cases. She said parents should be able to choose if their kids wear masks instead of the school board.

One parent claimed that there should be a religious exemption that allows children whose families believe in natural remedies and immunities for religious reasons to not wear a mask.

The schools do have an exemption in place for students with a disability or medical condition that can not wear a mask.

The district had medical professionals to present information about why public health guidance is to wear a mask and said they are following the health officials' guidance in order to get students back in school.

One of the complainants at the meeting opted to not have her case heard and asked for a continuance because she is seeking legal counsel. There is no guarantee the district will hear her thoughts at another time, according to the attorney conducting the hearing.

The hearing officer will take their findings and present them to the school board in an open meeting currently scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on April 8.

After that, the board will take action and decide on the outcome of the hearing. If the complainants are dissatisfied with decisions, they can file a civil suit in the district court.