A member of the Oklahoma School Board expressed her apologies to concerned families who didn't want their kids wearing a face mask after she commented that maskless children could murder each other.
Linda Sexton, a member of the Norman Public Schools Board of Education, said that she's "very sorry" to the parents who were against the move to let their kids wear a face mask. She said that she made the comment because of her worries about the spread of the Delta virus.
In a message via Fox News, Sexton admitted that she got very emotional during the school board meeting, prompting her to make such a controversial comment that some children "will commit murder by coming to school without a mask." She said that she deeply regretted her choice of words.
Care for the Norman Community
Sexton has been a member of the Norman Public Schools Board of Education for three decades and has worked to ensure the community's safety, happiness and health, alongside providing the best possible education for the kids. However, when Gov. Kevin Stitt refused a mask mandate for schools and passed a law (SB 658) banning such a rule unless, in a state of emergency, Sexton was one of the proponents who called on the community to stand up against the government's decision.
Sexton said that as children under 11 years old cannot choose to get vaccinated yet, a layer of protection through wearing a face mask is necessary. However, the governor said that parents are not prevented from sending their kids to school with face masks if it's their personal choice, as they did last year.
Stitt's decision, however, isn't in line with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) guidance stating that children under two years old should wear a mask if they are in school to reduce virus transmission. Members of the AAP in Oklahoma also support the said guidance.
Oklahoma's Vaccination and Infection Rates
To date, Oklahoma's vaccination program is below the national target. However, Stitt said that 85 percent of the state's above 65 years old, who used to be the most vulnerable population at the start of the pandemic, have had their jabs. Some 77 counties across the state also have vaccines ready for anyone eligible and willing to get vaccinated.
Stitt confirmed that he got vaccinated more than three months ago. He said that Oklahoma was one of the first states to roll out the program. However, as the Delta variant continues to spread, hospitals across the U.S. have been filled with patients. The governor said that 95 percent of these patients are not vaccinated.
Meanwhile, KFOR reported that no Oklahoma schools had challenged the governor's ban on mask mandates. While there is no penalty for breaking this law, some school officials said their district legal counsel advised them to follow SB 658.
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