BY KARISSA MILLER
Several parents and concerned citizens attended Tuesday night’s Iredell County Board of Commissioners’ meeting so they could share their views about the Iredell-Statesville Schools’ Board of Education mask mandate for students and staff.
Many of those who spoke against masks during the public comment period argued that face masks are harmful psychologically and physically to children – and that there is no proof that they work to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Speaker Michael Saxton told the board that God will hold them accountable for the decisions that they make.
“You will be held accountable for the words that you speak, and the words you knew to be true and did not speak. That is the God Almighty, the maker of the universe, the living God, the true God,” Saxton said.
He paraphrased Matthew 6:37, stating that all will be held accountable on the day of judgment, adding that “some of you guys are playing with God.”
“I’m here to tell you that your souls are at risk,” Saxton said. “So James Mallory I’m praying for you — because you are messing with a God that’s a holy righteous God.”
Saxton, who identified himself as a “strong believer,” followed up by saying that he wrote down every county commissioner’s name and would be praying for all of them — not just the chairman.
“I’m praying that we do see each other in heaven,” he said in his closing thoughts.
Richard Coleman, who has chosen to homeschool his children, also had some choice words for the board as he denounced the mask mandate in schools.
“Let’s get behind God and let’s follow God’s words. The people who are making these regulations and restricting this freedom I don’t believe are Godly men and women,” Coleman said.
Parents should be able to make informed decisions about masking for their family. He said that there’s no follow up or research to the other side of the argument.
“I elect people like you so that you can stand in the way of those people’s restrictions at our level. … I want you to evaluate both side of the arguments and not just follow whatever they say from Washington, D.C.,” Coleman said.
Lisa Mozer addressed the board at the end of the meeting about teacher safety and spoke in favor of the mask mandate.
She shared concerns that teachers face in the classroom with COVID-19 and mentioned that I-SS recently lost a teacher assistant and that there are many teachers out sick with COVID-19 right now.
“When we talk about students coming into the school building, there are adults — we call them teachers, who are in this building. Our profession … is on the line,” Mozer said.
“If wearing this (holds up a face mask) is going to help one teacher, I would hope that you would do that,” she added.
Mallory thanked everyone for taking the time to respectfully express their opinions and views with the board.
“We live in a time when it used to be you had different opinions and not different facts. People are generally operating on two different set of facts. That drives people to opinions they hold one way or another,” he explained.