By Payton Saso
On August 21, 2020, a protest was held in St. George, Utah that was organized in objection to wearing face masks. The debate about whether or not face masks help has been going since COVID-19 was declared a national pandemic, but one group decided to go a little further than online debates and hold a protest.
The protest came after the state governor, Gary Herbert, declared that masks would be mandated at school, USA Today reported. The marchers gathered at the Washington County School District where hundreds opposed forcing kids to wear masks saying, “safety is not as important as our freedom and liberty.”
The protest came under fire after a the news broadcast that covered the protest went viral. “A white woman earnestly attempts to explain the alleged injustice: of her situation by drawing a comparison to the killing of George Floyd,” The Cut recapped. Clearly the woman here is comparing the final words and pain of George Floyd to the minor inconvenience of getting slightly out of breath from wearing a mask, which is disturbing on many levels.
The original broadcast was covered by ABC 4 where they reported, “Up to a thousand people showed up in St. George, stating children being forced to wear masks in classrooms is illegal and unconstitutional.” Which without a Supreme Court trial, these unconstitutional claims just remain an uneducated opinion.
This protest came just a few months after a similar protest in Jacksonville, Florida where anti-maskers met at the Duval County Courthouse to oppose the mask mandate there, The Florida Times recapped.
St. George News stated that, “…rally attendee Dustin Cox, who also spoke over the megaphone, encouraged district students in attendance Friday to not wear a mask when they return to school Monday, even if it means getting expelled.”
Where if protestors make the claim that if masks are getting in the way of learning, wouldn’t getting expelled be a greater obstacle to learning?
There is not really any science accepted that masks cause more harm than good, even though that is often what anti-maskers claim. The World Health Organization has repeatedly set out initiatives for the public to wear masks. Protests like this have been seen across the world even in some of the countries where COVID has hit hard.
While it is every Americans right to free speech and that will be protected under the constitution, the timing and subject just seem to be a bit insensitive. With over 195,000 deaths and 6.5 million confirmed cases in the United States, doing anything we can to slow the spread doesn’t seem unconstitutional — especially if it is as simple as wearing a face covering.