Billings High School Students Plan Mask Mandate Walkout
Update 3/19/21 I spoke with one of the two students that started the planned mask mandate walkout at the high schools in School District 2. She told me that she wasn't sure how many students participated overall and that most kids thought that they could just go home instead of going to their next class, and that about ten of them stayed. She also said that the administration (at least at her school) told them they needed to go back to class. She further said that she listened to a few of her teachers and that they all thought that it was a dumb idea. She and the friend that helped her to start the process decided that they are going to get a group of students and go to a school board meeting and present their concerns about the mask mandate and see what happens. She has promised to keep me in the loop on the progress and what the school board says if they have an opportunity to meet with them.
Original Story There is a planned mask mandate walkout on Friday, March 19th at the high schools in Billings School District 2. The walkout is planned for after first period in front of the front doors of the schools. I talked with two students, one from Skyview and the other from West High who asked to remain anonymous, and asked them why there were planning this walkout. They got the idea when they saw that schools in Kalispell did it. They said that they are currently required to wear masks at school unless they are eating or drinking something, or are outside and at least 6 feet apart. They said that during their two-hour classes, they do get a mask break, where they can get up and walk around, but still have to keep their masks on. I'm a little confused about how that is a mask break.
I asked them if they had expressed their views to their principals and the school board. They said they had talked with teachers and principals and were told that the school Superintendent has kept the mask mandate for the schools. I asked them what they were hoping to achieve by having this walkout and they said, they just want to have their voices heard and to make masks optional for those students who want to wear them at Skyview, West, and Senior. They went on to say that they felt that the students don't have a say in anything. On a side note, I did not reach out to School District 2 for comment.
How should the school handle the walkout? Is this a case of expressing your right to protest? What are your thoughts?
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