Unmask Belleville Schools
Unmask Belleville Schools
August 11, 2021
Dear Dr. Tomko and Belleville Board of Education,
This petition is a response to your letter to the Belleville learning community dated August 7, 2021. In this letter, you stated “This mandate and Executive Order (Referring to Executive Order (EO) 251) does not allow individual districts flexibility in making their own decisions regarding masks.” On June 30, 2021 we received notice that, “Effective July 1, 2021, masks will be optional for all students and staff participating in both our bridge, recovery, and extended school year programs in pre-k through 12th grade.” The community at large has been overwhelmingly supportive of a normal, in-person, mask-optional return. This is further evidenced by the return of unmasked children to summer learning, camps, and sports both in- and outdoors. Based on the decisions mentioned above, it appears the Board and District are in support of a mask-optional learning environment being in the best interest of our students, staff and learning community. We are asking you now to stay the course and keep masking optional in our schools.
We implore you as a District to use your power to request a stay in opposition to the Governor's EO 251 and/or demonstrate willful disobedience by letting parents and staff members make their own decisions regarding masking. We ask that you formally and publicly voice your disagreement to this mandate which not only removes flexibility in local decision making from our Board of Education and takes power away from our District, but also takes the choice regarding bodily autonomy and healthcare of our students and staff away from parents and the individual, and instead, makes them a matter of the State of New Jersey. We implore you to take back and assert local decision making and authority for Belleville Public Schools.
Choices regarding health are a civil right grounded in the bodily autonomy, dignity, and privacy of the individual. Furthermore, one of the most valuable rights our children have under the Constitution is the right to receive a free and public education.
There are no long-term safety trials or clinical studies for daily mask use by children. In turn, there are studies showing that Covid is rarely transmitted in school and that children are at extremely low risk for both illness and transmission. A retrospective study across several states did not find sufficient correlation of mask mandates as a successful disease mitigation tool.
Symptoms reported from mask use within our own children include:
Difficulty breathing, shortness of breath
Skin lesions, rashes, and acne on the face, breakdown behind the ears
Poor dentition – increased cavities, mouth sores, abscesses, canker sores
Reduced ability to concentrate
Mental health issues, including anxiety and depression
Heat exhaustion, heat-related illness
We love our schools and we pay dearly to give our children the opportunity of a Belleville education. We pay for local control of our schools and believe that the ultimate decision-makers should be our families and staff members for themselves and their children. Please use your power to request a stay against mandatory masking and preserve masking choices for our learning community.
Concerned Parents/Guardian and Taxpayers of Belleville Public School Students