School teachers in a Colorado Springs school district are reportedly forcing middle school students to tape masks to their faces to stop them from wearing masks below the nose.
Academy School District 20 will interview over 100 students and staff members to investigate the credibility of these allegations after a picture of a sixth-grader from Chinook Trail Middle School with a mask taped to her face went viral on social media over the weekend.
The young student’s mother, Stephanie Butler, told Fox21 she posted the photo online to determine if other parents heard of the taped mask policy and if other students were impacted. According to Butler, her daughter sent a picture of herself wearing a mask with tape on it, which is when Butler began her inquiry.
Butler explained that her daughter received only one warning to keep her mask above her nose before she had the mask taped to her face. Additionally, according to the sixth-grader, her teachers have been enforcing the new policy for weeks.
“It’s a type of a restraint to me,” Butler added. “With the mask mandates and everything … she likes them because they hide her face cause of acne or whatnot. What really made me sad was that she didn’t see what was wrong.”
“Your face is you, you know — that’s how people know you. They are just doubling down on hiding you and not letting you breathe. It’s conformity to the extreme,” said Butler.
Other parents have reported stories similar to Stephanie Butler’s. Tori Skeldum, a parent of an 11-year-old at the middle school, told Fox21, “[my daughter] said the teachers were wearing the masking tape around their wrists like bracelets, and whenever someone’s mask would fall down, they would tape them.”
The school district addressed the situation in a statement, saying, “currently, we do not have concrete findings. As we know more, we will keep our community apprised. We thank our community for their patience and support as we take the appropriate steps to address these serious allegations.”
The district also emailed parents about the situation on Monday.
District 20’s Chief Communications Officer, Allison Cortez, responded to the allegations saying, “We’ve heard rumors that students did it on their own. We’ve heard rumors that teachers handed out the tape. We’ve heard rumors that teachers joked about it, but the students got the tape.” She also added, “There are so many versions of this story. That is why we need to actually talk with every single student and find out what really happened.”
Chinook Trail Middle School Principal Tom Andrew reportedly asked to meet with Stephanie Butler and her daughter to discuss the incident. However, she declined the request, opting instead to seek advice from legal counsel.