Anti-maskers were caught on camera laughing at a Tennessee school board meeting as a teen spoke about his late grandmother who died from COVID-19 last year.
Grady Knox, a junior at Central Magnet School in Murfreesboro, was among the dozens of speakers addressing a possible school mask mandate Tuesday at the Rutherford County school board meeting.
Knox’s heartfelt speech was interrupted by laughter from anti-mask activists when he mentioned that his grandmother was one of the estimated 375,000 Americans who died from covid in 2020.
“This time last year my grandmother, who was a former teacher at the Rutherford County School System, died of covid because someone wasn’t wearing a mask,” Knox said during his speech, a moment that drew laughter from anti-maskers in the audience.
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Several women holding “Let our kids smile” signs behind Knox were caught on camera grinning and laughing, causing Knox to briefly pause his speech.
“This is an avoidable issue,” Knox said as he finished his speech, which also drew cheers and applause. “And by not wearing masks in schools, it’s irresponsible.”
The hours-long special meeting ended without the school board taking any action on a mask mandate.
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As of Tuesday, the county reported that more than 1,000 students tested positive for covid and nearly 10,120 students were quarantined for at least one day.
Almost 30,000 children in the U.S. were hospitalized with COVID-19 in August, according to a recent New York Times analyst.
Some school districts have enforced mask mandates while others have reverted to remote learning as positive cases began to spike on campuses across the U.S.
President Joe Biden is expected to announce plans Thursday for more testing in schools in an effort to keep doors open and students in classrooms.