Louisiana students denied entry on first day of school for defying mask mandate

It was the first and last day back at school for a small group of kids in Central. One parent decided to withdraw her four children over the mask mandate.
Published: Aug. 13, 2021 at 4:45 PM CDT
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CENTRAL, La. (WAFB/Gray News) - It was the first and last day back at school for a group of students in Louisiana after they didn’t wear masks to class.

“We’re out. We’re out of the school system,” parent Megan Aucoin said. “We’re homeschoolers.”

WAFB reports Aucoin sent all four of her children to class Thursday without masks.

When Central Elementary School told her oldest daughter, who’s in third grade, that the school wouldn’t let her inside without one, Aucoin decided to withdraw them.

“She missed that classroom interaction, she missed talking to her friends, she missed the carpool line, she missed all that,” Aucoin said. “We were excited because we thought we could do all that again this year but she just told me she can’t.”

Aucoin claimed she filled out mask exemption forms for all of her children, but the school refused to accept them.

“I have nothing against the mask personally. If you want to wear one, great. That’s fine. But why should you force that on me and make my children do it?” Aucoin asked.

Central Community School System Superintendent Dr. Jason Fountain said there were fewer than 10 students across the Central Community School District that weren’t allowed inside of school because they wouldn’t wear a mask. He added the district will enforce Gov. John Bel Edwards’ mandate and will continue to expect everyone to comply.

One parent said she understands why people are upset, but she feels her child’s education trumps any disagreement.

“I just think an education is more important than her not going without a mask,” Joy McClung said. “I hate the mask. I don’t want to wear it, but even with it, she needs an education.”

Aucoin said she has no regrets and would do the same again if she had to.

“I will do anything for my kids. I will fight for my kids,” Aucoin said.

Louisiana has broken records for patients hospitalized with COVID-19 almost every day since Aug. 3 and reached an all-time high on Thursday with 2,901 patients.

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