‘Take off your mask’: Student says classmates teased at school for wearing masks

LINCOLN COUNTY, N.C. — Some Lincoln County students said they are being singled out for wearing masks, less than one week after a mask-optional policy went into effect.

Parents at Lincolnton Middle School contacted Channel 9 to say that on the first day of the mask-optional policy, students had to be reminded not to tease students who decided to wear them.

One parent believes the teasing convinced some students to take off their masks, a tool that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated can protect them from COVID-19 in school.

Last Wednesday was the first day of optional masks in Lincoln County Schools, so parents can decide what their children should do. Nyjaiviah Blake said on that day, she saw students without masks at Lincolnton Middle School telling other students wearing masks to take them off.

[COUNTY BY COUNTY: Local school districts’ mask, quarantine policies]

“They were, like, ‘You should take off your mask. You don’t have to wear it anymore,’” Blake said.

Apparently, many of them were convinced.

A mother said that morning that several students had their masks on going to school, but most didn’t have a mask on by the end of classes.

Blake said later in the day, school officials made a video announcement during class asking students not to tease others wearing masks. She said that wasn’t an issue when masks were mandatory.

“Before, they (weren’t) really bringing up masks, and then after the situation, they started actually bringing up masks,” Blake said.

The middle school student said she kept her mask on, which her father said was pivotal. They got a notice saying she was exposed to a student who tested positive for COVID-19.

Her father took her to get a rapid test.

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“I think it made a great deal of difference because her test actually came back negative,” Boise Blake Jr. said.

Blake Jr. said they live with his elderly mother.

“If she is exposed to it, then it can be fatal for all of us,” Blake Jr. said.

Blake said she wasn’t bullied and won’t be convinced to take off her mask.

Channel 9 asked district administrators if they have heard of instances where students were harassed for wearing masks. They said there have been no reports of that happening.

(Watch the video below: Judge denies order that would have required Lincoln County Schools to mandate masks)