CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – South Carolina teachers are facing backlash from parents over face masks in schools. Last week, Governor Henry McMaster issued a new executive order giving parents the power to decide whether or not their child wears a mask in the classroom.
The Charleston County School District held an emergency meeting last week to decide how to move forward. Chairman Dr. Eric Mack says regardless of the board’s opinions, they will be following the Governor’s order.
While teachers work to create a safe environment for everyone, whether students are wearing masks or not, some parents are accusing teachers of “segregating their children.” This is because when the executive order was announced, some teachers decided to separate masked and unmasked children in the classroom.
Now, some parents are taking to social media to share their feelings. Some have posted offensive comments about teachers. News 2 was contacted by a CCSD parent who shared some screenshots from Facebook detailing some of these comments. Not all of these posts are geared toward the Charleston County School District, but other districts in the state.
“In the very beginning of this whole entire school year, the teachers were the heroes. And now all of a sudden, the teachers are being called child abusers,” said Margie Mead Jackson, a CCSD Parent.
This comes as parents around the state have been protesting to unmask children.
Earlier this week, SC for Ed, a teacher advocacy group, decided to cancel a protest they had planned for Monday, May 17th. They cited “threats” as the reason for the cancellation.
“We really didn’t feel like it was fair to teachers to ask them, just emotionally all day of looking over their shoulder and worrying that something was going to happen,” said Nicole Walker, a board member for SC for Ed.
The idea was not only to protest in favor of keeping the mask mandate in schools for the remainder of the school year but also to raise awareness of several other decisions that the group calls “abuses” to the school system this year.
Margie Mead Jackson says teachers should not be bashed for following rules they did not make.
“The teachers feel so deflated right now. The teachers feel, after last week…they were given barely any notice,” said Jackson. “I want these teachers to know hang in there, they are still the heroes and these people….it’s a minority.”
With a month left in the school year, Jackson is encouraging parents to give teachers some leniency and lift them up instead of tearing them down. One Friday May 21st, she is promoting everyone, students, teachers and staff, to wear ‘red for ed’ to show unity.
“Friday, everybody wear red to school. Send them notes of encouragement. Say we got this. We got 25 more days of school and we can do this,” said Jackson.
News 2 reached out to CCSD for a statement regarding masks in schools. A representative responded with the following:
“We have notified our staff to not create groups of masked and unmasked children.”Charleston County School District