Mask mandate sparks emotional response from parents during Moorhead School Board meeting

Published: Aug. 23, 2021 at 10:37 PM CDT
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - Emotions ran high after the Moorhead School Board decided to move forward with universal masking for the upcoming school year.

“There are no words to how much my heart hurts and how much stress this is bringing, not only me, but our community in general,” said Elizabeth Janssen, a mother who has three daughters in Moorhead Public Schools.

The turmoil erupted inside as parents and community members listened as a school board member made the bold move to start the discussion of imposing the new rule.

“As I make this motion, I am well aware of the importance of choice, but also, the sacred duty placed on all of us to protect the health of all children. As one who has lost a child, I do not take this lightly,” said Matt Valan, a MAPS school board member.

Ultimately, the board voted 5 to 1 on the mask mandate, which in return, further upset some parents and community members.

“I’m incredibly frustrated that they wait until one week before school starts and change their mask mandate. They are my children, they do not belong to the school district. I get to make choices for them,” said Janssen.

Although, not all parents were against the new change.

One woman said, “at this point, children are dying. There are ICU beds that are full in many states. There are children that are waiting for another child to die, in order to get the care that they need. That is the end all be all goal that we do not want.”

Unfortunately, that didn’t stop the battle between those on both sides of this issue.

Some of those in attendance, say much of their disappointment was the unfair opportunity to have their voices heard.

“It’s apparent that the decision was had already been made. The board did not seem at all interested in an open forum. I think that is a healthy thing, especially when it involves every student,” said Ken Lucier, a Moorhead community member.

For some parents, now that the deal is done, it’s a race against the clock to decide if they will withdraw their children from Moorhead Public Schools.

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