Parents protest mask mandate with no opt-out provisions at Washington Elementary School District in Phoenix

The ongoing debate over mask use in schools continues, with parents in one Phoenix-area school district pushing back over the district's decision to no longer allow students to opt out of the mask mandate.

Toward the beginning of the school year, the district announced that they would be requiring masks for students and staff. Students, however, had the option to opt out, if a parent or guardian present a form to the school office. The no opt-out mask mandate is set to go into effect on Monday, as students come back from their fall break, and many parents say they plan to fight it.

"The previous arrangement with the opt-out form allowed for everybody to be happy. Parents who wanted to send kids in a mask were able to. Staff who wanted to wear a mask were able to, and just having that taken away from us is just very frustrating," said Kalyn Foggy.

On Oct. 14, dozens of parents, along with their elementary school-aged children, stood outside the Washington Elementary School District Superintendent's office for a protest.

"I don't feel like the board has any right to interfere when it comes to the medical well-being of our kids," said parent Tiffany Khalil.

"My daughter previously had an IEP. She was in the school district as a special needs preschooler, so her having to wear a mask eight hours a day, five days a week is not conducive for her development," said Foggy.

Many parents have sent in letters to voice their concerns, and the letters were read aloud at the school board meeting. At the start of the meeting, the board responded to the protestors, as well as their concerns.

Many say if their child has to wear a mask to school, they will have to consider other options for schooling. We did reach out to the school district for comment, but we have yet to hear back.

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