ROCKTON, Ill. (WTVO) — Dozens of parents brought their frustrations over masking requirements to the Rockton School Board meeting on Wednesday evening.

Speakers had a common message: make masks optional. Some parents said it is confusing that students within the district are forced to wear masks, when their older sibling at Hononegah High School are not.

“I’m not quite sure what the misunderstanding is, so we’re here to fight for our kids,” said parent Natalie Moberg.

Parents, students and taxpayers gathered in Rockton and called on the District 140 committee to follow neighboring school district’s lead to make masks optional, especially after the state unveiled plans to relax Illinois mask mandates starting later this month.

“We have a governor who tells our kids that it’s okay to go to church without a mask, it’s okay to go to the malls without a mask, it’s okay to go to a restaurant without a mask, but come Monday, you better strap that thing on when you go to school,” one parent said.

About 100 people showed up to the committee meeting on Wednesday. More than a dozen spoke out and shared the negative impacts that they said their children have experienced over the last two years during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some parents said that this is a chance to show their kids to stick up for what they believe in.

“This is what makes character, this is what makes integrity,” another parent said. “You stand up for yourselves every damn time.”

“Everyday we get a little more and more kids that are a little more strong inside and standing up for themselves because they see the other children in there and they get the strength to do it too,” Moberg said.

Moberg, a mom of three from Rockton, said that her kids were excited to go back to school on Monday after an Illinois judge granted schools restraining orders against Governor J.B. Pritzker’s mask mandates. However, her school district made it clear that COVID-19 protocols will not be relaxed until certain metrics are met.

“I’m not saying everybody should have to take off their mask, everyone has a choice,” Moberg said. “If you want your child to wear a mask, go ahead, let them wear a mask. If they don’t, don’t let them wear a mask.”

Rockton School District 140 has not commented on the issue.