‘Let them breathe!’: Parents advocate against masks for students in Danville

Bay Area

DANVILLE, Calif. (KRON) – Following an hour delay in Danville Tuesday, the San Ramon Valley Unified School District Board of Education eventually held its first meeting of the new school year.

“Let them breathe. Let them breathe!” protesters are heard shouting.

“Hey, everyone. I think we got the message,” said board member Susana Ordway.

The board paused the start of the meeting after some parents and educators refused to mask up themselves.

They are upset with the school district’s decision to follow local and state public health guidance — requiring everyone on campuses to wear masks indoors.

“We are against these mask mandates — to let our children breathe,” said Lorena Gamez.

The Danville police department responded to the disruption — but no arrests were made.

Superintendent John Malloy says the school district has to comply with Contra Costa health services’ indoor mask mandate, adding though that, at this time, the school district, will not impose stricter restrictions.

“We do not, as much as we have heard otherwise, hold the authority to make a different decision,” said superintendent John Malloy.

The parents who demonstrated are a part of a nationwide grassroots movement called “Let them breathe.”

They feel families should have the choice to send their students to class with or without a mask.

“They are almost everywhere else without a mask, and I would not be comfortable with them in class with a mask on,” said parent Courtney Pronin.

“We’re seeing tons of mental, physical, emotional disorders from this,” said parent Matthew Paul.

“For me, a huge fear issue. When I go to the park, there are children that are even scared to walk near me. I’ve had friends or kids that have had anxiety attacks when their masks keep falling off. This is a huge mental health problem,” said parent Courtney Pronin.

School starts next week, and Superintendent Malloy says about 750 district students have chosen to start the year virtually.

But the majority of the student body is returning for in-person instruction.

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