Some parents speak out after mask mandate ruling stayed

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Many local school boards faced angry parents Tuesday night after the decision to keep kids masked in the classroom.

News10NBC attended the Hilton Central School District’s meeting and spoke to parents who believe the mask mandate is illegal to enforce.

Parents say they agreed with Monday’s New York State Supreme Court Judge’s decision that ruled Gov. Kathy Hochul’s mask mandate unconstitutional.

Tuesday, an Appellate Court stayed the ruling, pending the State’s appeal. Even with the temporary stay in place, parents still oppose their children being required to wear masks.

One Hilton parent told us, "He [their chlid] said his nose hurt from the mask pulling on it all day."

More than 100 parents and their children were at Tuesday night’s meeting, but only a few got up to speak. As soon as the meeting officially started, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Casey Kosiorek made the District’s masking mandate clear to parents, and students in the audience. The mandate stays in place, for now

That same parent said, "Everything changed last night whether you agree or not. All it took was for parents to hear that one Supreme Court Judge ruled this mask mandate illegal. I mean we’ve known this how long? You knew it too. The Judicial System has spoken."

And when her three minutes were up, she continued talking. The Board then voted to take a quick recess, and let things settle down a bit. After resuming, David Wayner came up to say that the district missed a perfect opportunity to make a change.

"Other school districts made a different decision, and for a moment in time after that Supreme Court ruling up until that Court of Appeals ruling here this evening, 24 hours, or so there was an opportunity where that was not the law of the land," Wayner said.

News10NBC reported Monday night that the State Education Department announced the mask mandate remained in effect for schools based on the State’s intent to appeal.

Another parent says the Board just doesn’t have the desire to listen to parents.

"It’s very important for parents to understand that these districts are getting over $2,000 per child to keep these kids masked. It has nothing to do with safety," said Kellie Wright.

Hilton High School student Nicholas Difante said he wore his mask to school, but decided to take it off. He explained what happened next.

"I got in trouble for it, and I was asked several times by several different people to put it on, and I actually ended up leaving early today," Difante said.

Gov. Kathy Hochul had this to say about the State’s mask regulation ruling stay: "I commend the Attorney General for her defense of the health and safety of New Yorkers, and applaud the Appellate Division, Second Department for siding with common sense and granting an interim stay to keep the state’s important masking regulations in place."

New York Attorney General Letitia James also released a statement saying in part, "This mandate and today’s decision are critical in helping to stop the spread of this virus and protect individuals young and old."