Mitchell students, parents defy mask mandate at public school

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Published: Sep. 1, 2021 at 2:18 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The start of the day at Mitchell High School looked a lot different. George Sinke just dropped off his two grandkids. It was the first day that each student was required to wear a mask.

“They go back to a mask mandate. And so kids had to wear masks administrators and everybody has to wear masks,” said Sinke.

The grandkids plan to join the protest and not wear the mask.

“I think it would be their choice,” said Sinke. “Might have to come to get them but that’s what it is that’s what it is.

Patton Peterson says he’s not against wearing a mask.

“I’m fine with wearing it, it’s not the wearing of the gets me, it’s them. It’s the mandate,” said Peterson. “I feel like that just intrudes on our personal freedoms and to do what we want.”

Mom Kendra Smith believes masking should be optional, and students who have chosen a mask previously have not been harassed for it.

“When it (the pandemic) first started, my daughter was scared because with my health I was considered a high risk so she wore it and nobody bothered her,” said Smith.

Sophomore Kaleb Townsend is thinking of others as he wears a mask.

“Like me, probably won’t be as effective because I’ve got no problems and I’m not that old, or they’re young, but if you just benefit everyone you know,” said Townsend.

And Dontaevian Aldrige wears a mask to keep protect his mom, who is a healthcare worker.

“She could pass it on to some or elder patients or some of her sick patients,” said Aldrige.

Regardless of where a student or their parents stand on the mask mandate, there is a sense of loss for some: a unity that’s been broken.

“Deeper and deeper divide in the community. And it’s sad to see that because you know I’ve lived in the area my entire life and I don’t want to see this happen in my hometown,” said Peterson.

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