Portage parents protest district mask rules

Conspiracy theories and misinformation flew at a school board meeting discussing the mandate.

Portage Public Schools (PPS) will require masks at all of its schools, including its preschools. That’s after orders issued by the Kalamazoo County Department of Health and Community Services last week requiring mask mandates in all schools serving kindergartners through sixth graders.

The decision by the PPS Board of Education has made a number of parents very angry. Many of those parents showed up at a school board meeting Monday night to air their displeasure.

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“Who am I going to sue when my son dies in that classroom because he has been suffocated by a mask?” asked one parent.

“We deserve to have a choice and these kids deserve to have a future,” said another.

There were plenty of accusations and misinformation tossed around during the meeting, but board members were unswayed.

“I really don’t want our health system to become overwhelmed like it was this past winter,” said board member Rusty Rathburn.

The district has little leeway to defy the public health order anyway. Local public health departments are, by law, allowed to issue orders to protect the public health within its jurisdiction.


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