Kids are headed back to school, and in many states, they will be accompanied by mask mandates.
Parents across the country are making their voices heard as school districts decide whether to require students and staff to wear masks to curb the spread of COVID-19 as cases spike due to the highly transmissible Delta variant. And while the mask mandate has been issued for all school districts in Massachusetts, many other states have yet to take that step.
In Texas, one father made his stance clear.
At a school board meeting for Dripping Springs Independent School District Monday, James Akers took off one article of clothing at a time until he was stripped down to just swim shorts. The stunt was captured on video and widely circulated this week.
“We follow certain rules for a very good reason,” Akers told the board.
Akers is reportedly a 15-year resident of the Texas city with a child who attends an area high school, according to local news outlet KXAN Austin.
“I’m here to say that I do not like government or any other entity — just ask my wife — telling me what to do,” Akers said to the board as he began his curious version of pro-mask performance art. “But sometimes I’ve got to push the envelope a little bit. And I’ve just decided that I’m going to not just talk about it, but I’m going to walk the walk.”
“At work, they make me wear this jacket. I hate it,” Akers said as he took off his jacket. “They make me wear this shirt and tie. I hate it.”
“On the way over here, I ran three stop signs and four red lights, almost killed somebody out there,” he continued satirically (we hope). “But by god, it’s my road too. So I have every right to drive as fast as I want to, make the turns that I want to.”
Akers continued his tongue-in-cheek rhetoric, adding that when he arrived at the school parking lot that day, it was full, so he picked a handicap spot: “I decided I could park wherever the hell I want.”
Akers stripped himself down to a pair of swim trunks, and over a mixed bag of cheers, laughter, and gasps, he drove home his point: “It’s simple protocol people. We follow certain rules for a very good reasons.”
One school board member interjected, telling Akers, “I believe you’re a swimmer, but if you wouldn’t mind putting your pants back on for a comment that would be appreciated.”
Masks are currently recommended in the school district but not required, according to KXAN Austin.
“There are too many voices out there that I think are digging in for political reasons, and absolutely just not thinking about the common sense decisions we make every day,” Akers later told the outlet.
Last month, Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order blocking state entities, including school districts, from requiring that any person wears a face covering. But school districts across the state are pushing back, in hopes of issuing mandates in certain districts.
Massachusetts has adopted a uniform approach for the upcoming school year, and all public school students and staff are required to wear a mask indoors at least until Oct. 1. After that date, schools that have 80 percent or more of their students and staff fully vaccinated will be allowed to drop the mandate for vaccinated people only; unvaccinated students and staff would still be required to wear masks.
Watch the video: