Colorado Springs student with mask taped to her face sparks outrage over mask mandate
Mask mandates have been around for nearly a year now, but how they are forced varies from city to city. In Colorado Springs, one school decided to take very extreme measures by taping the masks to students' faces. The "policy" has now gone viral, thanks to one parent who took to social media and the press to slam Chinook Trail Middle School. Her revelation has now led the school district to launch an investigation, which has only led to more publicity.
Masks have become a major culture war in the US, as the pandemic has forced people to rethink the way they live. On October 16, President Joe Biden was snapped without a mask on a dinner date with First Lady Jill, creating a storm on social media. While Biden himself has been eagerly pushing mask mandates, many have been fighting back. In fact, one California anti-masker went viral for calling masks "rape".
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Schools themselves have become a major hotbed for mask debates. In late September, parents threatened to pull their kids out of a school in Des Moines, Iowa, and deprive it of funding if it went ahead with a mask mandate. In other cases, school board meetings have routinely taken a violent turn over mask mandates, the only option to counter the pandemic since children can't yet get vaxxed.
'It’s sad that our world is coming to this'
Chinook Trail Middle School's extreme measures came to light thanks to Stephanie M., whose daughter goes to the school. She became aware of the taping thanks to Timehop. On October 15, Stephanie sent a photo from the app to her daughter, who sent her a selfie in return. In that selfie, Stephanie's daughter was seen wearing a mask with tape on it, prompting the mother to start asking questions.
The sixth-grader told her mom that teachers would give students one warning if the mask slipped or was removed. The next time, they would tape the mask to students' faces. Reportedly, the school has been enforcing the policy "for weeks", since Academy School District 20 instituted a mask mandate on September 27. It seems teachers have been "wearing the masking tape around their wrists like bracelets" so they can enforce the mask mandate.
Speaking to Fox 21 News, Stephanie said the policy was "a type of a restraint" and also lamented about the effect it was having on her daughter. "With the mask mandates and everything... she likes them because they hide her face ’cause of acne or whatnot. What really made me sad was that she didn’t see what was wrong." Stephanie added, "Your face is you, that is how people know you. They are just doubling down on hiding you and not letting you breathe and... it’s conformity to the extreme."
Another parent, Tori Skeldum added, "It’s sad that our world is coming to this and teachers would think it is OK." Over the weekend, Stephanie posted her daughter's selfie on social media, to ask other parents if their children too had faced the same treatment. That image quickly blew up, leading the district to launch an investigation.
'There are so many versions of this story'
On October 18, the school district sent out an email to parents about the situation and confirmed it was investigating it. "Currently, we do not have concrete findings. As we know more, we will keep our community apprised. We thank our community for their patience and support as we take the appropriate steps to address these serious allegations," it said. D-20 Chief Communications Officer Allison Cortez added that it was vital to talk to every student, because of contrasting stories.
"We’ve heard rumors that students did it on their own; we’ve heard rumors that teachers handed out the tape; we’ve heard rumors that teachers joked about it, but the students got the tape. There are so many versions of this story," Cortez said. A Facebook group for parents shows that it certainly seems to be the case. One parent uploaded a screenshot of a chat, where it appears children are the ones bringing the tape and doing the taping.
At the moment, more than 100 staff and students are being interviewed, as are parents. One parent not participating in the process though is Stephanie. On October 19, the school principal asked to meet with the mom, but she declined that invitation. Stephanie told Fox News that she is seeking advice from an attorney, but her decision won't be affecting her daughter's education. Stephanie's daughter will reportedly be attending school virtually until the investigation is complete.