Parents Recorded Threatening Experts Over Tennessee School Mask Mandate (Dreamstime)
By Theodore Bunker | Thursday, 12 August 2021 10:38 AM
Members of a group of more than two dozen parents were caught on video threatening various people, most of whom were reportedly doctors and nurses, as they left a school board meeting in Tennessee earlier this week after the board voted to approve a temporary mask mandate.
The Williamson County Board of Education voted in a special session on Tuesday to approve a temporary mask mandate for elementary school students, which prompted an angry protest in Franklin, Tennessee.
In a video posted by journalist Matt Masters to Twitter, protestors can be heard chanting "we will not comply," and one man can be heard yelling at a masked person leaving the meeting: "We know who you are."
The same man later added, "You'll never be allowed in public again."
A different man said, "You can leave freely, but we will find you."
Carol Birdsong, executive director of communications for the school district, said on Wednesday in a statement that although the parents care about the education their children receive, "there’s no excuse for incivility."
She added, "Our families and staff represent a wide variety of thoughts and beliefs, and it is important in our district that all families and staff have the opportunity to be represented and respected."
During the special session, local parents spoke out on both sides of the issue. One, internal medicine specialist Dr. Britt Maxwell, told CNN that he attended the meeting because his "children are at risk," noting that he works in a hospital where they’re "seeing otherwise healthy people in their 30s and 40s getting sick, and the case counts are going up exponentially and some are dying."
He said during the meeting: "We have to do everything we can to protect the whole community, and that means the people in this room that don't agree with me and their kids in the classrooms. If we don't do this, we're going to have school shutdowns and quarantines and needless tragedies, and I don't want that for my community."
A parent who opposed a mask mandate, former Marine Daniel Jordan, told the school board during the meeting: "Actions have consequences. If you vote for this, we will come for you, in a nonviolent way. … In the past, you dealt with sheep; now prepare yourself to deal with lions."
Maxwell told CNN that he and his wife left the meeting early, just after the public speaking section ended, noting that he knew at the time that "things were going to get a lot worse."
He said that as they were leaving, someone in the crowd outside came up to him, "put their hand in my face and called me a traitor."
Maxwell added, "I don't see how anyone can say that when I've been on the front lines of this pandemic since the beginning, treating patients in rooms, unvaccinated for the vast majority of it, hoping I wouldn't take it home to my family. And for someone to say that, it's mind-blowing."
He went on to say, "I like to think that these were also concerned parents that cared about their kids, that want the best for them, that have different facts than I have. And I like to think that tempers will cool and I will be safe and my family will. I hope so."