A chaotic scene unfolded outside of Manchester Junior and Senior High School in Washtenaw County, Mich., about 25 miles southwest of Ann Arbor. In a video posted to Twitter on Wednesday, parents can be seen encouraging and cheering on their children as they walk maskless into school despite a mandate from the county health department.
After confirming that police will not stop them, parents encouraged their kids go inside without masks.
Students were finally allowed in and were taken to the library apart from everyone else.
“It’s absolutely insane,” said parent Jeremy Rippey.
Rippey believes in masking up but think it should be everyone’s choice.
The insanity isn’t the “mob mentality” — as he said — in the video, but the hypocrisy of the county health department.
“They have no problem allowing 110,000 people in ‘The Big House’ to yell and scream and breathe all over each other, but you have 300 kids in a school and all of a sudden it’s a big deal,” Rippey said.
The school district is located in the same county as the University of Michigan, which hosted a football game on Saturday.
Governor Gretchen Whitmer has not issued a state-wide mask mandate but hopes that parents set a “good example” and mask up.
“I ask that parents afford teachers and those that are on the frontlines some grace and support masking up. It’s the best thing for their students and it’s the best thing for our ability to recover from the academic disruption that COVID’s created,” Whitmer said.
Whitmer is a little gun shy after she blew up her national political career by botching her response to the pandemic. She was in the running for vice president until several controversies erupted about her quarantine orders and the Michigan high court invalidated most of her emergency orders because she had failed to consult with the legislature.
The propriety of using children — however willing they might have been — by adults to make a political statement about masks can be questioned. Indeed, the kids went to school the next day all masked up.
Twenty-four hours after the video, the district superintendent said it was a different scene.
“After sending out communications last night, our students came in peacefully with masks on,” said superintendent Brad Bezeau. “Manchester has always been a place that’s come together around things. Hopefully after some struggles, we can do that again, because that’s always been the hallmark for our community.”
It’s sad that a matter of public health is being debated by putting children in the middle of it.