Teachers at a prestigious high school in New York City are reportedly still pressuring students to wear masks, with permission from the principal despite the city ending the mask requirement for children aged 5 and up.
The New York Post reports, principal Brady Smith of Beacon High in Manhattan has told parents that teachers have the right to ask students to wear masks, undermining the mayor’s call to end school mask requirements. Smith wrote a letter stating, “While teachers cannot mandate a mask in their classroom, they may request that students wear one as many of us have vulnerable loved ones at home.”
Numerous students said they were asked multiple times to continue wearing masks even after Mayor Eric Adams ended the requirement in schools. One freshman who was eager to ditch the mask told the Post, “My English teacher said ‘It’s preferred in my class to keep wearing the mask’ so I put it back on.”
Seventeen-year-old Kaan Bayram, said, “My history teacher asked us to please keep wearing our masks. I don’t think it’s right, the social pressure he was creating. It’s social pressure!” Another student explained, “One of my teachers asked us to keep wearing them last night. It was his message to all of us on Google Classroom. They use it to post assignments, class assignments. He said his family members had co-morbidity and some other teachers had new babies and they want us to keep wearing masks.”
A concerned parent noted that teachers should not be attempting to sway the students’ mask-wearing decisions either way. “Look, it’s either up to the kid and their parents or it isn’t. Do we have any say over anything anymore? Can the kids request that their teachers take their masks off so they can hear them again? I’m guessing not,” she stated.”
Beacon High parent and congressional candidate Maud Maron called the principal’s actions a form of “emotional blackmail,” saying, “It’s outrageous and illegal and inappropriate. Guilting children into wearing masks based on unscientific assertions on a day that should be joyous is cruel and unkind.”
Smith along with Department of Education representative Nathaniel Styer urged parents to ask their children to respect everyone’s personal choices. Styer stated, “The decision to wear or not wear a face covering is now entirely up to students, parents and staff.”