PEARLAND, TX - Parents and students from Pearland ISD and Alvin ISD rallied Monday to urge authorities to issue a mask mandate and offer a virtual option for the upcoming school year that begins this Wednesday.
Just two days before the start of a new school year, parents and students rallied outside Pearland ISD’s board meeting Monday evening, hoping for a hail Mary change to the COVID-19 protocols.
Currently, masks are optional and virtual learning won’t be offered for financial reasons.
Some pointed the finger at their school officials.
"We know students will not engage in universal masking unless it is policy and we need our school board in order to lead the way. We know the school board has no problem regulating dress code. We know they have no problem regulating haircuts as has been in the news with Pearland ISD," said Travis Bolts.
"When we ask, well why don’t we file a lawsuit. The superintendent says well we are a small district and we can’t afford it," said Tobi Abeyinka.
Others like Roland Choat, an ER nurse, brought a picture of his daughter, Mary, and harshly criticized Texas leaders for making decisions based on politics, rather than public health.
"Her name is Mary. She’s autistic. She’s 9 years old and cannot speak for herself. That's why I'm here to speak on her behalf," said Choat.
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"Governor Abbott if you can hear this, shame on you. Shame on you for weaponizing the machinations of government against our children; against Mary. It is ridiculous that I have to stand here with a picture of my daughter in a parking lot begging, begging for you to act in some rational fashion in the interest of public health. It’s ridiculous," Choat continued.
Pearland board trustees heard from nearly 30 speakers Monday during public comments.
However, heading into the first day of school Wednesday, Pearland district officials said they will stand by their plan for optional masks and no virtual option and deferred additional questions to their website.