A school district in Austin, Texas, could begin segregating students who refuse to wear face masks, separating them from masked children.
The discriminatory measure, which would go into effect Friday, was announced Tuesday by Eanes ISD Superintendent Tom Leonard, who claimed it was a better alternative than outright suspending students who won’t comply.
Another less favorable alternative, Leonard said, would be to turn unmasked children away at the door and not let them enter the building, which he admits would likely have a deleterious effect on their mental health.
“So you can do what some districts do–if the child walks up the door, you don’t let them in. You can do that,“ Leonard told Community Impact newspaper. “That becomes problematic over time. It puts the kid in a really tough position.”
The superintendent says isolating children is exactly the slap on the wrist needed to enforce the school board’s recent unanimous decision to mandate masks, which he says isn’t “a mandate unless it has enforcement.”
“Accommodations will be made for special circumstances, such as medical conditions or special learning circumstances, he said,” Community Impact reports.
Eanes ISD board members interviewed wished kids and parents would just shut up and wear the masks.
“This is not a political issue. This is a public health issue,” said Eanes trustee Ellen Balthazar. “Effective and universal masking is really the superpower of all the mitigation effects we can do in our schools.”
“Just mask up so we can keep our kids in school,” said trustee Laura Clark.
The move comes as Gov. Greg Abbott has vowed to sue school districts in the state that defied an Executive Order prohibiting mask mandates, including Travis County.
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