‘We know what is best for them’: Illinois school district continues to defy state mask mandate

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HUTSONVILLE, Ill. (WTWO/WAWV) — Hutsonville Community Unity School District #1 in Illinois is currently on probation for its non-compliance with Gov. JB Pritzker’s statewide school mask mandate.

Superintendent Julie Kraemer, along with dozens of other superintendents in Illinois, recently signed an op-ed voicing their displeasure with the mandates. Kraemer said she feels as if the district’s voice is going unheard.

“No matter how long or how much we try to voice or communicate, whether it’s with the Governor’s Office, whether it’s with the Illinois State Board of Education, it’s like we don’t matter,” Kraemer said.

Due to the noncompliance, the school district could potentially lose state recognition, which would mean a loss of funding from Illinois. Students also would not be allowed to play state-organized sports.

“The potential loss of state aid, our kiddos not being able to participate in the state series, all of that has been talked about and it’s a concern,” Kraemer said. “However, at the end of the day, sometimes there is a bigger picture and things that are more important.”

According to Kraemer, the district has the support of many parents, who continue to be informed of the district’s masking stance during school board meetings.

“We’ve had parents who have shown up,” Kraemer said. “The majority of the parents showing up are for parent choice and specifically we have heard over and over again ‘we are tired of co-parenting with the government and any state agency. We are their parents and we know what is best for them’.”

Kraemer said the school district and its parents and students feel overlooked, explaining that they think Pritzker made the decision by bypassing local government bodies.

“Right now, the continual loss of local control and the mandates that they’re trying to push down on us, that happening, getting up to stop and stand for that is important,” Kraemer said.

While Hutsonville CUSD #1 continues to defy Pritzker’s mandate by not requiring students or faculty to be masked, Kraemer said they are complying with the frequent testing requirement for non-vaccinated employees.

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