SALT LAKE CITY — The message is out from students to their parents: Stop using kids as pawns when it comes to mask rules.
A group of parents of students at Enterprise High School in southern Utah don’t like the mask mandate and are pushing kids to go to school without masks.
Some students at Enterprise wouldn’t have any of it. They didn’t want the school to shut down. Cheerleaders and football players stood up against a planned “no mask Monday” protest.
Kids as pawns in mask war
At a football game on Friday night, Dallee Cobb, a cheerleader at Enterprise High School in Washington County, spoke up to the assembled fans.
“In order to do your part, we ask you to mask up,” Dallee told the crowd. “We ask that you keep in mind that by wearing a mask you are supporting all of us athletes and helping us get back to some sort of normalcy.”
Dallee spoke with Dave Noriega and Debbie Dujanovic about the mask controversy pitting kids against parents.
“Do you feel like parents are kind of the problem in this?” Debbie asked.
“There has been kind of a problem with parents not agreeing with the mask mandate. They’ve kind of been telling their kids not to comply with this as well, which I think is really a problem, especially if they don’t even know if the kids want to go to school or not. So that’s kind of the message we were putting across, that we want to be here. In order for us to be here, everyone has to do their part, ” she said.
“I’m thinking back when I was a high school kid, to be able to get in front of all my friends’ parents and to tell them to shut their yapper. That would’ve been extremely difficult for me. Was it hard for you to stand up there and talk to parents like that?” Dave asked.
Dallee said at first she was intimidated when it was decided that she would be the spokesperson. She said she sat down and thought about how to express herself in front of all her friends’ parents without being disrespectful.
“When we got to the game, I realized that I would have my whole class standing behind me in complete agreement. I wouldn’t be alone. It wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be. . . . So it was good,” Dallee said.
Being with friends matters to kids
“Do you think the protest [against wearing masks Monday] kind of fizzled?” Debbie asked.
“I was talking to my mom last night, actually, and I think it made a lot of parents realize despite what their opinion is they’ve got to sit down and ask their kids because, honestly, even these elementary school kids, I do think that they would rather wear a mask and be with their friends and socialize than stay home and be by themselves and have to learn over a computer screen, which at the end of the day is all that matters. We’re the ones going to school,” Dallee said.
Dallee said the overall message of her speech that she gave was that all the students were lucky to be able to go to school, to be in person with classmates and teachers.
“We have this privilege, and I don’t know why if we have this, why we would throw it away over wearing a mask. It’s something so simple and so selfless that everyone can do. When we got the word that all these parents were planning this, all of us students were like, ‘No way, we want to stay here. We’re not going to let this happen,” Dallee said.
She equated wearing a mask to donning a seatbelt or a life jacket. No one wants to wear one, she said, but people do so to be safe.
“How big a deal has it been for you to wear a mask all day? Because a lot’s been made by parents about the length of time students will have to mask up. Have you found it to be a problem?” Debbie asked.
“I haven’t actually, personally. I mean it’s annoying. You can’t see people smile, and you can’t really see who’s talking to you. But it’s really not that awful. When you’re alone like in the bathroom, you can take down and take a little breath, but other than that it’s not that bad,” Dallee said.
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