Tennessee will let parents decide whether their children should cover their nose and mouth at school.
Gov. Bill Lee signed an executive order that prohibits educational institutions from forcing students to wear face masks on Aug. 16.
Lee believes school districts cannot compete with the unconditional love parents have towards their children.
“No one cares more about the health and wellbeing of a child than a parent,” he said on Twitter. “[This is why] I am signing an executive order … that allows parents to opt their children out of a school mask mandate, if either a school board or health board enacts one over a district.”
No one cares more about the health & well-being of a child than a parent.— Gov. Bill Lee (@GovBillLee) August 16, 2021
I am signing an EO today that allows parents to opt their children out of a school mask mandate if either a school board or health board enacts one over a district. pic.twitter.com/aOxzvP41Hp
The governor rejected any suggestion that school districts have the right to make students and teachers wear masks to help contain the Chinese Communist Party virus.
“Districts will make the decisions they believe are best for their schools but parents are the authority, and will be ultimate decision-makers for their individual child’s health and wellbeing,” he said on Twitter.
Districts will make the decisions they believe are best for their schools, but parents are THE authority & will be the ultimate decision-makers for their individual child’s health & well-being.— Gov. Bill Lee (@GovBillLee) August 16, 2021
I will not be calling a special session at this time.
The governor believes older people represent the largest proportion of infected and hospitalized patients. He stressed there is no need to involve children in a problem that mainly affects grown-ups.
“Requiring parents to make their children wear masks to solve an adult problem is, in my view, the wrong approach,” he said according to Yahoo News.
The Republican did not grant GOP Tennessee House Speaker Cameron Sexton’s request to call a special General Assembly session on the matter, according to the Tennessean.
Sexton and 73 members of the House Republican Caucus co-signed a letter, requesting the session to address school mask requirements, limited health department authority in major counties, and “ongoing discrimination” from private companies that choose to require vaccines.
The speaker hopes the order will be expanded to limit six independent health departments that might impose what he calls inconsistent and unproductive mandates that hurt local businesses.
Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, Montana, South Carolina, Texas and other states have introduced measures to prevent local officials and school districts from imposing mask mandates without parental consent.