AKRON, Ohio — The Youngest person to speak in favor of mask At a Wednesday night school board meeting in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, she decided not to let masked men steal her thunder.
Before 10-year-old Kylan Park stepped on the microphone at the controversial meeting, she watched as other pro-mask speakers interrupted by flubs and booze from people protesting the district’s mask mandate. A couple of those opposites ended up walking out of the meeting in anger.
Critics protested earlier this month the district’s decision to extend its mask mandate until at least October 29 to protect students and staff against COVID-19.
But Kaylan, a fifth-grade student, didn’t let the tense atmosphere scare her.
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‘You guys should know that masks save lives’
“It’s so weird to be here because adults don’t think their kids should wear masks,” Kaylan said when it was his turn to speak. “…many of you are adults. You guys should be able to know that masks save lives.”
When some audience members disagreed, Kaylan replied: “Can I speak please? Let me speak before you guys leave.”
His demand was met with applause.
But some listeners continued to talk, which prompted Kaylan to say out loud: “Please shut up… it’s unfair that you guys can’t keep quiet.”
Wearing a mask with the message “Mask Save Lives”, Kaylan said covering a face is an act of kindness towards others.
“You’re doing this for your own safety,” she said. “It’s like kindness. My teachers tell me that when you do something for other people, they can return it. Wear a mask for them and they’ll wear it back. Just for kindness’s sake wear a mask.” . You are showing kindness.”
Some of the audience applauded as they stood up and others were seen patting Kaylan on the shoulder as he returned to his seat.
Board meetings usually take place in the high school library, but Wednesday’s session was moved to the natatorium and police presence was requested after a previous meeting last month when several people refused to wear masks. Was.
There is no need to cover the face where the meeting took place.
When discussing the mask mandate at the conclusion of Wednesday’s meeting, Superintendent Dr. Todd Nichols pointed to Kaylan and said, “The reality is I need to put him in the classroom.”
Karen Schofield, president of the Cuyahoga Falls Board of Education, said Kaylan’s conversations with audience members served as a reminder that respectfully listening to different perspectives is an important element of civic discussion.
“Whether you are a child or an adult, I think continuing to conduct yourself with responsibility and respect is still an ingredient. [of civil discourse] regardless of where you stand on a particular issue,” Schofield said.[Kaylan] Just reminded us that in order to have a civil discourse, one needs to listen respectfully.”
Follow Phil Keren on Twitter: @keren_phil