A parent in one Texas district recently ripped off a teacher’s face mask and demanded another educator remove hers, according to the school system’s superintendent. This prompted Eanes Independent School District Superintendent Tom Leonard, to urge parents to give the teachers “space and grace” following the assault.
In a statement issued by the school district superintendent, he said that the parents have become increasingly violent and shared that teachers are being attacked personally and verbally on the days leading to the first day of school.
“A parent physically assaulted a teacher by ripping a mask off her face, others yelling at a teacher to take off her mask because they could not understand what the teacher was saying while her face was covered,” he said, NBC News reported.
Leonard also asked the parents not to go violent on the teachers who are serving as frontliners, whether they resist Gov. Greg Abbott’s order which prevents school districts from mandating masks in schools.
“While many may not agree on the particulars (i.e., masks or no masks), we all want students to be safe and we all should treat each other respectfully,” Leonard wrote.
He also urged for kindness on behalf of the teachers, urging everyone not to fight mask wars in the schools.
“Our staff are on the front lines of this pandemic; let’s give them some space and grace. Please, I am asking everyone to be kind … do not fight mask wars in our schools.”
The mask wars are a result of the mixed reactions that the mask ban ordered by Gov. Greg Abbott reaches its boiling point, as it faces resistance from numerous municipalities and school districts.
Despite his lengthy statement, Leonard did not disclose what happened to the teacher who was attacked or what disciplinary action the parent faces. He did say that there is no legal method to enforce the wearing of masks so they do not have the authority to enforce it.
He said, “We will not make our staff the ‘mask police’ with no authority to enforce the rule.”
“To be clear, we respect the Travis County Order requiring masks and highly encourage masks for all students, staff and visitors to our campuses. Our hospitals are full at the moment, our medical personnel are under extreme pressure. We are doing our part to help,” he added.
He added that the majority of staff and students, especially in elementary schools, are wearing masks.
“If adults choose to disagree and fight among themselves (as my mother often advised my brother and me when we fought) please take it outside, off our campuses and out of our schools,” Leonard advised parents. “The children are watching and learning how we behave, so let’s make the time our students spend in school a joyful and positive experience.”