The Little Rock School District Board, in a special meeting, approved a resolution urging the state legislature to reconvene to repeal a ban on mask mandates. The ban, slated to go into effect Wednesday, prohibits government entities, including local public school districts, from imposing mask mandates. The LRSD resolution also empowers Superintendent Mike Poore to advocate repeal of the law with state leaders.
Last week, Governor Hutchinson told reporters that he hadn’t heard from local school leaders with concerns about the ban on mask requirements. He’s set to meet with legislative leaders tomorrow, he said.
Attorney Tom Mars has promised to file a lawsuit over the law.
Poore, in describing the need for the resolution, noted the sharp rise in coronavirus cases and how that’s already affecting LRSD students: The entire Pinnacle View Middle School football team is under quarantine, he said. And the Southwest High School volleyball team had to return from a tournament in Russellville because of coronavirus exposure.
The board approved the resolution 8-0. Board member Jeff Wood was absent.
During the public comment period, most people spoke in favor of the resolution. But several said that the decision to wear a mask should be left to parents.
“I acknowledge this is a very complicated situation for families,” Board member Greg Adams said. “No one likes to wear a mask. No one likes the burden of that for adults, even less for children. When you look at the risks and benefits, and you measure them out, this is the responsible thing to ask for.”
Board member Ali Noland noted that the resolution was a necessary step, but not the last one the board would take with regard to how it plans to keep children safe this school year.