A teacher in Mississippi has been suspended after he refused to wear a mask during workdays.
Tyler Kuntz, a music teacher at Oxford High School, said he was prepared to serve his two-day unpaid suspension as punishment because he did not agree with the school district’s decision to impose a mask mandate for the first two weeks when classes return.
Kuntz said the decision was made by Oxford School District Superintendent Bradley Roberson without discussion from the board, which represents parents.
“If we don’t have parental input in our public education system, what are we left with?” Kuntz told Fox 13.
“It’s quite concerning, so I elected to not wear my mask during my workdays and take a two-day suspension on behalf of those parents and students who have spoken out and been silenced.”
Kuntz, who has been vaccinated against COVID-19, said imposing a mask mandate instead of making face coverings optional is unnecessary as so many students do not wear them properly.
“We don’t know that masks will or won’t work, and if you watch how masks are worn anywhere, especially in schools, I would hardly say they’re effective,” he said.
“But the justification is that the mask will lower the number of quarantine days served by our kids, and that’s a good thing.
“The problem is the policy the community enacted together already allowed us who received the vaccinated to be there in the school as a student or be there to teach the kids, we were exempt from the quarantine rules from the beginning.”
The Oxford School District had 2,259 students that had to isolate themselves last year because of quarantine rules.
“We’re being asked to do yet again one more thing and one more thing and after nearly a year and half of complying and being flexible and altering plans,” Kuntz said.
Kuntz confirmed that he will return to school on Friday and wear a mask as required following his suspension.
“It is my intention to return for the first day of school this Friday, compliant with a wrongly-instituted mask mandate, and fulfill my first priority to better our community and enhance the lives of our children through music education,” Kuntz wrote on Facebook.
“To the parents of my students who hate what has happened: I sympathize with you, and have used what little ammunition I have in this fight. I am sorry there was not someone more significant to be your champion, even in this possibly futile gesture.”
The Oxford School District has been contacted for comment.