James Akers: Texas man stripping in support of mask mandate at school meet goes viral
The man's move came after the Dripping Springs Independent School District implemented an optional mask policy
DRIPPING SPRING, TEXAS: A father in Texas stripped down to his underwear at a board meeting to drive home the importance of wearing masks. The move by the man came after the Dripping Springs Independent School District implemented a policy, in which wearing face masks amid a pandemic was optional.
A meeting was held on Monday to discuss the school's refusal to enforce a mask mandate, where residents argued for and against it, including the implementation of stricter Covid-19 safety measures in classrooms. While many made valid points, no one's speech captured the audience like James Akers. He was wearing a jacket, pants, suit, and tie when he approached the microphone to speak. He was allotted a total of 90 minutes to make a speech. “I do not like the government, or any other entity, telling me what to do,” he said. "But sometimes I’ve got to push the envelope a little bit. And I’ve decided I’m not just going to talk about it, I’m going to walk the walk."
After that, he began to strip. And one by one, he began removing articles of clothing from his body till he was wearing nothing but a bathing suit. “At work they make me wear this jacket,” he said, pulling it off. “I hate it. They make me wear this shirt and tie. I hate it.” While taking off his undershirt and dropping his pants to the ground, Akers earned cheers and jeers from the audience. When he was on his last piece of clothing, two police officers moved closer to the microphone, apparently ready to escort Akers out if he chose to remove his underwear.
Who is James Akers?
Akers described himself to the board as a 15-year resident of Dripping Springs who has had three of his own children go through the school district. While he continued to undress, he also tried to make his point - that like traffic lights, masks serve a purpose in society, by keeping people safe and maintain order. He claimed that he ran three stop signs and four red lights on the way to the meeting. “I have every right to drive as fast as I want to," he added. Akers also claimed that after arriving at the meeting venue, he parked his car in a space reserved for the physically disabled.
He then drew his conclusion - that masks might be inconvenient to our daily lives but they also help us keep safe. “It’s simple protocol, people. We follow certain rules. We follow certain rules for a very good reason,” Akers said. By this point, the meeting room has filled with boos and cheers for Akers, and board president Barbara Stroud had to hammer her gavel just to restore order and silence in the meeting. “Mr Akers I understand — I believe you’re a swimmer — but if you wouldn’t mind putting your pants back on for a comment, that would be appreciated,” Stroud said.
'Nobody catchin’ covid from a guy in a swim suit'
Akers refused to do so. After his time was over, he merely gathered all his clothes and walked away from the microphone. Photos of the incident were posted on Facebook where people had mixed feelings about Akers' behavior. “Now I’ve seen it all! Good lord. What exactly is he trying to get across?” one Facebook user commented on photos posted from the school board meeting. “Yikes...he was ridiculous and there were kids at that (meeting),” said another. “I’d be embarrassed.”
However, there were others who agreed with his eye-catching demonstration. “Nobody catchin’ covid from a guy in a swimsuit. But, someone without a mask…could happen,” a commenter wrote.
Another commented, “His message was poignant and clear! Wasn’t any more shocking than the loud disrespectful hecklers yelling over speakers during their time or ripping off the social distancing tape placed by the school board."