Iowa parents threaten to remove their kids, defund school over mask mandate

Parents dissatisfied at a mask mandate in Ankeny Community School District in Iowa have now decided to remove their children from school


                            Iowa parents threaten to remove their kids, defund school over mask mandate
The mask mandate in the school says that everyone is required to wear a face-covering while inside school buildings (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)
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Several parents of students in USA's schools have been opposing safety measures put in place to keep Coronavirus, which is plaguing the world, at bay. They have resorted to peculiar tactics, and in some cases, even violent ones. For instance, parents at an elementary school threatened to zip-tie the principal.

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Some parents dissatisfied at a mask mandate in Ankeny Community School District near Des Moines, Iowa, have now decided to remove their children from school, and also deprive the district of funds. A spokesperson told The Daily Beast that on October 1, the Iowa Department of Education takes a certified enrollment count that helps determine the amount of funding the districts are individually allotted for the following year. Therefore, if a student leaves the district before the count on October 1, it is likely that they will not be tallied for the award of funding for the following school year. If students whose parents do not accept the mask mandate come back after the count, the school might not have an option but to make do with less.

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“It’s absolute insanity to try to defund the schools and then enroll your kid back into the school the next day,” a local mother said under anonymity. Two of the woman's children, both with asthma, are enrolled in the school. “Nothing surprises me anymore," she added.

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Ankeny parent Jeff Fahrmann was among many other parents who were enraged at the mask mandate put in place by the school, as per which everyone requires to wear a face-covering inside the school building. He later reportedly claimed that he would disenroll his three children if the measure was not done away with. “I have personally confirmed 66 students that will be unenrolled through a personal survey,” Fahrmann said at a  three-hour school board meeting. “We unenrolled our kids last year due to the hybrid part-time instruction decision, and plan to do this again if you mandate masks without reasonable exemptions.” In fact, he went to the extent of launching an online petition for other parents “opposed to the mandatory mask policy and willing to unenroll their children for the October 1 enrollment certification date if masks are mandated again.” His petition later disappeared from the site.

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Jeff Bettis, a local father whose two children are enrolled at the school, said, “I, as well as hundreds of other parents, signed the school district’s petition to prevent my children from having to wear a mask. I have no problem with masks. If you or your children feel more comfortable wearing them, then do so. That’s your right and freedom. However, infringing on the majority’s rights is unconstitutional!”

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The Ankeny School District stated that they were prepared to deal with any sudden changes to the size of the school population that may come their way. “A school district the size of Ankeny Community Schools frequently has students moving in and out of the district, and this causes our enrollment counts to fluctuate throughout the year," school spokesperson Jamie Loggins-Evans said. “We recognize that parents and guardians have the right to unenroll their student(s) from the district at any time for any reason. We do ask that parents and guardians go through the proper channels​ to request their student’s unenrollment,” Loggins-Evans added.

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Farhmann later claimed that the allegations saying that his plan was to defund the school. “I would like to correct the misinformation that has been spread and say there never was a ‘plan’ to defund our school. Every family has to make their own decision over what is best for their kids, and for some, that may mean unenrolling,” Fahrmann wrote. “The only ‘plan’ was to create awareness over the potential financial implications if enough parents made that decision for their family.”

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The state Department of Education spokesperson said that despite the problems that may occur due to the new changes, they do have the ability to increase the funding by appealing to the school budget review committee. Upon approval, local property taxes would cover the additional money. 

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