GISD parent mask

Shoshanna Ritchie spoke against the district’s mask requirement saying it impedes students ability to understand and learn social cues through facial expression.

Rowlett residents spoke against Garland ISD’s temporary mask requirement at the Tuesday board of trustees meeting.

The district issued a letter on Aug. 24 from Superintendent Ricardo Lopez upon the requirement’s implementation. Lopez said in the letter that the requirement was to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and ensure the safety of students, staff and parents.

The primary consensus among the parents who spoke against the requirement was that the wearing of masks impedes students’ abilities to properly communicate their feelings and understand social cues.

Chris and Troylene Moyer spoke against the requirement of masks. Troylene said the district is facing litigation for its violation of state executive order GA-38, deeming it illegal for public entities to impose a mask mandate.

“Garland ISD has created an undue burden on its faculty, student and parents illegally,” Chris said.

Craig George said that as a teacher and coach for Richardson ISD, he has lost a connection with his students and feels he cannot joke with them or deliver the same inflections that he used to.

“Over the last year and a half, it feels like I have been teaching to a bunch of muzzled children,” George said.

Erik and Shoshanna Richey said the requirement nullifies the district’s social and emotional learning curriculum which teaches students to understand and control their emotions when interacting with others.

Garland resident Kathy Sturgeon thanked the board members for putting the requirement in place after advocating for the use of masks at their previous meeting.

Upon receiving the letter of litigation from Attorney General Ken Paxton, the district released a statement saying they had not provided a response, as a mask mandate has not been implemented. Instead, the district implemented a mask requirement with several exemptions.

The requirement is scheduled to be lifted on Oct. 26 unless otherwise noted.

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