Parents in Franklin, Tennessee, erupted in anger on Tuesday night after the Williamson County Board of Education voted 7-3 to mandate masks in elementary schools for all students, staff, and visitors.
The mask requirement will go into effect on Thursday and will last until September 21. After that, board members will reassess cases of the Chinese coronavirus in Williamson County to determine whether or not the mandate will be extended, according to a report by News Channel 5.
Video footage from Tuesday showed a group of protesters shouting at school board members after the mask mandate was reinstated.
Protesters could be heard chanting, “No more masks!” inside the school board meeting, with one protester wielding a sign, which read, “I don’t care what you vote, my kids will by as masked as an Obama B-Day.”
The protester’s sign was in reference to former President Barack Obama’s maskless birthday bash at his $12 million estate in Martha’s Vineyard, where hundreds of maskless guests were seen celebrating with the former president on Saturday night.
I caught this second disruption on video only moments later.
“I’ll see you in court,” the woman vowed. Lots of legal threats tonight of lawsuits. I wonder if we’ll see any come to fruition. pic.twitter.com/UMb481Froa
— Brinley Hineman (@brinleyhineman) August 11, 2021
Additional video footage — captured by Matt Masters with the Williamson Home Page — shows protesters outside, chanting, “Will not comply!”
Several members of the group were seen following a man to his car, shouting “we will find you” and “we know who you are” at him. During the public comment portion of the meeting, the parent asked the board to reinstate a mandate.
At another point in the video, one protester can be seen approaching a vehicle and shouting, “We know who you are. You can leave freely, but we will find you” at the man inside the car.
“There is a place in hell for you guys. There is a bad place in hell and everybody’s taking notes, buddy,” another protester yelled. “You will never be allowed in public again.”
The parking lot after a school board meeting last night in Franklin, the wealthiest place in Tennessee. Parents harassed medical professionals who had spoken in favor of masks in schools. “We know who you are. You can leave freely, but we will find you.” pic.twitter.com/SzR0uvMeE7
— Natalie Allison (@natalie_allison) August 11, 2021
At one point, a Williamson County Sheriff’s Office sergeant spoke to the group of protesters and asked them to remain peaceful, News Channel 5 reports.
“We are here for everybody’s safety, we are here for y’all just as much as we are here for everybody else,” the sergeant said.
“We are here, we are away from our families, some of us are on a 17, almost an 18-hour day, and that’s me,” he added. “So I’m here for y’all. I’m here for y’all. We want everything to be peaceful. I am begging y’all to be peaceful.”
School board spokeswoman Carol Birdsong told News Channel 5, “Our parents are passionate about their children’s education, and that’s one of the reasons for our district’s success over the years. With that said, there’s no excuse for incivility.”
“We serve more than 40,000 students and employ more than 5,000 staff members,” Birdsong continued. “Our families and staff represent a wide variety of thoughts and beliefs, and it is important in our district that all families and staff have the opportunity to be represented and respected.”
“We will continue to work toward making sure all voices are heard and that all families, staff and community members feel safe sharing their opinions,” she added.
If children show up to school without a mask, the district says it “will give them a mask to wear.”