Masked protesters gather in front of Palatine Dist. 15 School

Palatine Township Republican committee member Aaron Del Mar, Republican nominee for Lt. Governor with Gary Rabine, waves up the crowd at a protest calling for a COVID masking choice outside of a canceled Palatine Dist Wednesday . 15 Wednesday evening school council meeting. (Tom Robb/Newspaper photo)

Between 60 and 70 protesters on Wednesday February 9 gathered in a parking lot across the street from Palatine Dist Elementary School. 15 school board members were due to hold their board meeting to advocate for students to have the choice of wearing face masks inside schools.

However, the council canceled that meeting at Sundling Junior High in Palatine and rescheduled it to February 11 on Zoom, as the district feared the meeting hall could not accommodate many of these protesters, who also might not follow. the face mask. protocol inside the building.

After learning that the meeting had been postponed, some of the protesters called the school board members “cowards” for postponing the meeting and holding it virtually.

Several elected officials attended the event. Parents also brought their children, who shared their feelings about wearing masks in schools.

On February 4, a Sangamon County judge issued a ruling on parents’ and employees’ requests for temporary restraining orders regarding COVID-19 mitigation strategies in Illinois schools. The lawsuits were filed against 145 Illinois school districts and sought to invalidate the governor’s mask mandate and quarantine requirements. Additionally, the lawsuits seek to invalidate the need to require vaccinations and/or testing for staff. Dist. 15 was not named in this lawsuit and therefore the orders do not apply to Dist. 15 and its schools.

Governor JB Pritzker recently announced that the state’s general indoor masking order would end at the end of February, but the lifting of the masking order would not apply to schools.

Several public figures attended the Feb. 9 protest, including Palatine Township Republican committee member Aaron Del Mar, a Republican candidate for lieutenant governor along with gubernatorial candidate Gay Rabine. Also in attendance were State Rep. Tom Morrison (D-54th), who is not seeking re-election, and Dist. 15 Vice Chairman of the Board Frank Annerino.

Annerino said he was only present at the protest as an observer and did not wish to make a statement about the protest.

At the protest, Del Mar told the crowd that her daughter was a Dist. 15 eighth grade student who is required to wear a mask at school. He said she couldn’t hear her classmates.

“We want to expose our children, we want to have the ability to expose our own children,” Del Mar said. “It’s tyranny.”

Another protester told the crowd, “I’m going to burn everything, including my own business, to get these kids out of these masks.

Dist. 15 fifth grader Jillian Dahl (centre) shares her story of recently deliberately walking to school with her mother Jennifer (left) and another parent, without a mask outside on a canceled Wednesday February 9 Dist. 15 school council meeting. Also pictured is Aaron Del Mar, Republican Township Palatine Committee Member and Republican nominee for Lieutenant Governor. (Tom Robb/Newspaper photo)

Fifth grader Jillian Dahl said she, her mother Jennifer and another mother recently entered a Dist. 15 school deliberately did not wear masks. She said school officials told her mother Jillian she wouldn’t be allowed to go to school unless she wore a mask and threatened to call the police.

Another student speaking at the rally, Aerial Zhong, claimed that she and her younger sister wore face shields at school, but recently decided to enter school without wearing them. She said school administrators forcibly put a face shield on her sister’s head, but did not put one on her head when she waved them off.

Aerial’s mother, Jennifer Fang, said she filed a police report regarding the incident. Palatine Police have verified that they have a report on file regarding the incident, which can be obtained through a request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

Dist. 15 officials were not immediately available for comment.

Aerial Zhong, (right) a 12-year-old Dist. 15 female student recounts her experience of recently refusing to wear a face shield in a Dist. 15 school, joined by her mother Jennifer Fang (left) in a protest outside a canceled Dist. 15 school council meeting Wednesday. (Tom Robb/Newspaper photo)

Another demonstration is planned tomorrow (Friday) at 7:30 in front of the Dist. 15 administration building near the intersection of the Northwest Freeway and Hicks Road.

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Jeremy S. McLain