Farmingdale school board meeting erupts into heated debate over state mask mandate

Gov. Hochul says she wants all school personnel to be vaccinated or face weekly testing and said all masks will be mandatory in schools.

News 12 Staff

Aug 25, 2021, 9:45 AM

Updated 1,004 days ago

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Yelling, swearing and a rude hand gesture erupted at a Farmingdale school board meeting Wednesday in response to Gov. Kathy Hochul's mask mandate announcement.
Hochul says she wants all school personnel to be vaccinated or face weekly testing and said all masks will be mandatory in schools.
"Later this week, I'll announce a series of school-related policies, they'll be concise and consistent, giving the school districts what they have been asking for," says Hochul.
The Farmingdale School District had planned to start the school year with a mask optional policy, but the governor's plan may change that.
Parents took to the microphones yelling over each other about masks. One woman, who trained as a contact tracer, says she is in favor of continued COVID-19 protocols and masking.
"This is an institution of education. We have to go with the facts and truth and what I've just heard has nothing to do with either of those things, thank you," said the woman.
The woman then made a rude hand gesture towards a man who is in favor of masks being optional. He responded by saying, "Being a contact tracer does not mean you know any facts."
The group Moms for Liberty has been very vocal about mask mandates.
"Show me the data," says Barbara Abboud, of Moms for Liberty. "Show me why you're issuing this guidance and I welcome it."
Abboud, of Farmingdale, says she wants to hear more information from Hochul about why she is making masks mandatory in New York schools.
"Under what authority? There is no longer a state of emergency," says Abboud. "There is no longer governor emergency powers and she's trying to circumvent the legislative process by asking the Department of Health to issue the guidance."
District officials say they will comply with whatever decision is made.
"My ask is that our local districts stand their ground and say we have the data to back our decisions and you don't have the authority to come over the top," says Abboud.
The school board president told the crowd that the board has no authority when it comes to any mask mandate issued by the state saying, "If you're going to be angry, be angry with them."



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