ROCKTON, Ill. (WTVO) — Masks in schools have been at the center of an emotional fight this week.
Some parents have been demanding an end to mask requirements locally, with some even taking their demands to the police. Some parents from the Rockton School District, where their kids are still required to wear masks in school, said that their children are not wearing masks to school and are being separated from their peers as a result.
“It’s prison, except prison actually has windows,” said Cezary and Gina Swirydziuk, parents of a Stephen Mack Middle School student. “It’s sad.”
Wear a mask, or sit in a separate classroom with other unmasked students. Those are the options that Cezary and Gina said their son is facing at school.
“Blocked off from everyone. They’re not allowed to leave,” they said. “They do have recess and they do have lunch, but other than that they just sit in the room. There’s no teacher, there’s a supervisor to kind of watch over the class. There’s no teaching.”
The 13-year-old and several other students are learning in a classroom away from their masked peers.
“And just now we found out that they were even boarding up the door window, putting a piece of paper over it,” Cezary and Gina said. “We don’t know the reason.”
In an email to parents, the principal at the middle school wrote: “Your child has made the choice to not wear a mask at school. This is a requirement for all students and staff in the building. As a result of your childs decision to break this rule, we will have a space where they can continue with their education.”
Neil Orris said that his nine-year-old was given the same options at Stone Creek Elementary School in Roscoe.
“‘How many kids are in this room?’ and he said one, and I said ‘that’s so sad, I can’t put my son through just being him and another kid,'” Orris said.
He recorded his interaction with the principal.
“When does it end? What do you guys need to hear? When does the mask end,” he asked.
The parents said that they are both sad and angry.
“That hurt my heart really bad,” Orris said. “That’s something I’ve never experienced in my lifetime.”
“What they’re doing is unbelievable ,” Cezary and Gina added. “It’s truly hard to believe what they’re doing.”
Stephen Mack Middle School was contacted several times on Wednesday, but they have not responded.