Parents, students in Ocean County push back against state mask mandate for schools

A protest was held outside the Toms River Board of Education meeting Wednesday night and in nearby New Egypt, things got so heated that the meeting was forced to shut down.

News 12 Staff

Aug 19, 2021, 11:59 AM

Updated 968 days ago

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Parents and students in two Ocean County school districts are pushing back on mask mandates.
A protest was held outside the Toms River Board of Education meeting Wednesday night and in nearby New Egypt, things got so heated that the meeting was forced to shut down.
With three weeks away from the start of the new school year, parents showed up outside the town's meeting in Toms River High School South to make it known they are not going to follow the mask rules without putting up a fight.
Parents at the rally said it should be their decision, and they're pushing the board to push for them.
In the spring, numerous school districts in Ocean County sent letters to the governor to let masks be a choice as the weather warmed up. It was clear at the protest that those feelings for some parents have not changed.
"It's almost like they can't go after the adults. The adults won't comply, so they're going to go after our children. They're innocent. They're the lowest risk factor. If you're afraid, put it on. If you're not, don't, but it's my choice. I should have the choice as a parent. You're an educator, educate. Let me parent," said Christina Valenti.
A member of the Board of Education shared a letter with News 12 New Jersey that she sent to Murphy.
It read in part, "Our parents have had enough of state-mandated masks for our children under the guise of safety; they want the choice to decide what is best for their own children. This country was founded on the principle of Liberty, and safety does not come before Freedom."
Meanwhile, at the New Egypt school board meeting a few miles west of Toms River, a shouting match broke out between parents and the school board.
Parents wanted the board to back them and sent a letter to Murphy, but the school board said it's following the rules.
The New Egypt School board told parents any child who will not comply with the mask mandate will be sent home for the day.


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