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Alabama Bill Allows Parents to ‘Opt Out’ of School Mask Mandates

MONTGOMERY, Alabama (AP) — Alabama legislators introduced a bill on Wednesday aimed at allowing parents to bypass the requirement that students wear face masks in schools.

The House Health Committee has approved a bill that recalls the controversy over public health orders at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill states that parents of students in K-12 schools have the right to “opt their children out” of policies for students to wear face coverings at school, school functions, school buses, or at school. says. school bus stop. The bill is currently being considered in the Alabama House of Representatives.

“This is a custody bill,” Republican Rep. Chip Brown, the bill’s sponsor, told the committee. “This is basically a bill that says, as a parent, I should make decisions about my children’s health, not the state.”

In Alabama, masks were mandated statewide during the pandemic, but orders expired on April 9, 2021, leaving the decision up to local school officials. Mask requirements have all but disappeared as the number of COVID-19 cases has decreased. There are also legal battles in Florida and other states over who has the power to ban mask mandates in schools.

Democratic Rep. Pevelyn Warren questioned the impact on other children and their families if a child not wearing a mask spreads the disease.

“I’m just trying to be fair to all parents. If my child got sick because your child had the virus, what rights do you have to deal with the situation?” Do you need it?” Warren said.

Bart Reeves, deputy executive director of the Association of Alabama School Boards, said the bill would strip local school officials of their decision-making powers, who were either elected or appointed by elected officials.

“This sends a worrying message to our community that individual preferences can override collective decisions made through democratic processes,” Reeves said at a hearing on the bill. .

The co-founder of a group that opposes mask and vaccine mandates voted in favor of the bill at a public hearing.

“Over the past few years, we’ve seen parental rights obliterated by forced masking of children,” Casey Cavender told the commission.

For more information, visit The Washington Times COVID-19 Resources page.

Copyright © 2023 The Washington Times, LLC. Alabama Bill Allows Parents to ‘Opt Out’ of School Mask Mandates

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