Maury County student confronts school leaders to implement mask mandate
Maury County student confronts school leaders to implement mask mandate (FOX 17 News Nashville)

A Middle Tennessee student is taking matters into her own hands after the Maury County School Board voted down two separate mask mandates.

The district is one of the few larger districts in the Midstate that doesn’t require students wear masks.

Spring Hill High School student Avalon McCartney says about half of her classmates wear masks. 

RELATED: Maury County student urging school leaders to require masks in the classroom

The school has been open and closed multiple times for coronavirus outbreaks. Avalon says the back and forth is making this year even more challenging for herself and her classmates.

“Me and others students find it hard to stay focused and motivated while being online,” she said.

While online learning may be hard to focus on, Avalon is focused on another goal: making masks mandatory in Maury County Schools.

“If we can institute masks and social distancing in my schools, everyone can come back safely and we can help stop this pandemic from continuing,” McCartney said.

She started an online petition that’s gotten 800 signatures so far.

Tuesday night, she handed it over the board, urging them to take her seriously.

“I, along with 800 others, are simply asking you what tens of thousands of health experts are asking you to do,” she told the board.

The board already voted against a mandate in the past, and it wasn’t up for discussion at this meeting.

Board chair Michael Fulbright—voted ‘no’ on the mandate each time it’s come up.

FOX 17 News asked Fulbright why he’s voted against the mandate, which is a CDC recommendation to stay open safely.

“I haven’t said no to masks, I think there’s value to having masks, I have one on now,” Fulbright said. “But I think the mandate part of it and the enforcement part of it was something that was never totally clarified to my liking.”

The board says its against their policy to respond to someone after public comment during a meeting, so they didn’t speak up after Avalon’s presentation.

Avalon says she’s hopeful she was heard loud and clear.

A statement from the school district didn’t address the question of a mask mandate, but said they’re proud of her willingness to speak up:

Maury County Schools is proud of Avalon McCartney’s bravery by standing up for something she believes in, for speaking out, and for engaging with our community. Maury County Public Schools mission is to provide the educational instruction, tools, and environment for every child to succeed in LIFE as Life-long Learners, Independent Thinkers, Fearless Innovators, and Exemplary Citizens. We take great pride in our student's learning how to become independent thinkers and exemplary citizens.

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