A Virginia mother addressed her children’s school board Thursday night regarding the district’s mask mandate, which subverts the Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin’s executive order allowing parents to choose whether or not to mask their children in school.
A Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) mother, Carrie Lukas, condemned the school board for requiring children to mask up for school while “across Virginia, right now, adults are gathering in gyms, bars and clubs and laughing together maskless.”
“Yet my five kids spent all day today, eight hours, in masks in Fairfax County Public Schools,” she said. “My first grader has never been inside his school without a mask. He’s never had a chance to smile at his friends or hear his teachers’ unmuffled voice, and it is outrageous and ridiculous.”
On Jan. 15, hours after being sworn in, Youngkin issued an executive order that he said would “empower Virginia parents in their children’s education and upbringing by allowing parents to make decisions on whether their child wears a mask in school.” But, school districts across the state of Virginia have ignored the governor’s order and decided to mandate masks.
“Why … when I went to my local, friendly elementary school to exercise that right, did some poor, kind woman have to tell me that my kids were suspended?” she asked. “I know she didn’t want to do that. I know that most of the teachers know this is lunacy and cruel to kids.”
In honor of National School Choice Week, she argued in favor of giving Virginia parents more control over where to send their kids to school. Parents should have an alternative to FCPS, she argued, saying the school board uses school funding to “initiate lawsuits and hire security guards and press aids to keep taxpaying citizens from seeing what’s happening in the schools.”
“Parents should be given control of that per pupil spending so that we can find educators who respect us and so that we don’t have to come here begging to you to have some decision making,” she said. “It’s time for Virginia to give parents like me the ability to just leave this school system that very clearly doesn’t want us anyway.”
On Monday, the school boards of districts in Alexandria City, Arlington County, the City of Richmond, Fairfax County, Falls Church City, Hampton City and Prince William County filed a joint lawsuit arguing that Youngkin’s executive order is unconstitutional and unsafe for students, according to a joint statement released by the school districts. The school boards argued that the state constitution gives them the authority to run their districts how they see fit.
Other parents also condemned the FCPS board. Mother Stacy Langton called the school board “lawless” and said their decision to undermine the authority of Youngkin was “perversion and tyranny.” Langton first gained national attention for her September 2021 school board appearance, where she read excerpts of sexually graphic books that are available in FCPS libraries.
“Mandates are not the principles this nation was founded upon,” Langton said. “Our forefathers came here to escape tyranny. We’re not going to wait patiently while FCPS gives parents the middle finger.”