Onslow County Facebook group protests mask mandate in schools

Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — A Facebook group called Freedom of Choice – Parents of Onslow County gathered Monday to peacefully picket the recent mask mandates in Onslow County Schools.

The group obtained a permit from the City of Jacksonville Police Department to picket outside the Onslow County Schools building. At the protest, there were parents, grandparents, retired school teachers and children, all protesting the required mask mandate.

Amanda Bourque, the picketer who obtained the permit, said she was there to protest because her 7-year old son was suspended twice this school year for refusing to wear a mask at Summersill Elementary School. Borque says she has emailed all seven Onslow County Board of Education members about her son’s suspensions and his refusal to wear a mask and only received a response from one board member.

She said sat down with the Summersill Principal last Friday to come to a resolution. Borque said after speaking with the principal, every day her son is not masked he will be put in a 3-hour in-school suspension and then will be allowed to attend his classes mask-free as he wishes.

“It’s aggravating, you know, that we don’t have the choice, and you put a parent between a rock and a hard place of really complying with something you don’t agree in to give them some sort of normalcy,” said Jennifer Henry, a parent who was on the picket line on Monday. “For really our rights, that we’re all about to lose as humans if we don’t stand up.

Borque says she was struggling as a single parent with her son being sent home every day he refused to wear a mask. She said her son also attends an after-school program at the Boys and Girls Club, where they isolate him and do not allow him to play with the other children. She said she had to fight for him to be allowed to play outside with the other children.

Henry said she had three children in Onslow County Schools but one of them she just pulled out of the school system. She also said her children are frustrated and are craving normalcy in their schools again. She said her children were ordered to wear a mask by their schools before the school board had officially put the mask mandate in place. 

Henry said she wishes they were given more information and answers to their questions. She says she wishes they were given a definitive number of how many cases the county would have to have in order for masks to no longer be mandatory.

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