Parents make case for ending mask mandate in Blue Valley schools

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — More than 800 people logged into a Zoom meeting Wednesday to hear challenges to the mask mandate in Blue Valley schools.

Three parents are challenging the mitigation measures in place to fight COVID-19.

Parent Laura Klingensmith did not present her case, saying she wanted to consult with a lawyer.

It’s not known whether she will get another opportunity.

Julie Myrick claims her first grader is having trouble reading because of the mask mandate. She said her fourth grader’s test scores have dropped.

Myrick argued that kids are suffering psychological harm from wearing masks and claims they don’t often wear them properly to do any good.

“My youngest son has reported increased anxiety and difficulty breathing,” Myrick said. “This is a child with epilepsy whose seizures can be triggered by increased physical or psychological stress. These are the short term consequences. What are the long term consequences of prolonged mask use in school age children?”

Myrick called masks a barrier to communication between student and teacher.

She believes there has been no spike in infections at schools where there is no mask-wearing requirement.

Finally, Linus Baker said his 6-year-old grandson is a special needs student who the district is requiring to wear a mask.

Baker claims the boy needs to see lips.

The school district’s lawyer says the boy is not currently enrolled and that Baker has a history of suing the school district over immunization requirements.

District administrators testified that the mask requirement is based on unanimous recommendations from public health and medical experts.

School leaders believe operating without masks may result in more quarantines and classroom shutdowns.

A private attorney who specializes in mediation and arbitration conducted the hearing.

Roger Warren was hired by the school board and is required to issue his findings within seven days.

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