Anti-mask activist parents were caught laughing at a high school student as he told a Tennessee school board that his grandmother had died from Covid because people refused to wear masks.
Grady Knox gave a heartfelt speech to the Rutherford County school board during a meeting on imposing a mask mandate.
Knox is a junior at Central Magnet School in Murfreesboro, a suburb of Nashville.
But when he mentioned that his grandmother – a former teacher in the district – had died, two women behind him carrying ‘Let out kids smile’ signs were seen laughing, as others in the audience began to shout over him.
Grady Knox, a junior at the Central Magnet School in Murfreesboro, explained to the Rutherford County school committee and assembly why he believes masks should be worn on school premises
The video shows the two women – clutching placards that read ‘let our kids smile,’ one casually chewing gum – smirking, sighing, and shaking their heads in disapproval as the student tried to continue with his side of the debate
Grady said: ‘If I get COVID, I’m going to bring it to my family, and I talk to my grandparents a lot,’ he says in the clip. ‘They’re higher risk than me, so I don’t want to give them COVID.
‘I’m worried about my family. This time last year, my grandmother, who was a former teacher at the Rutherford County school system, died of COVID because someone wasn’t wearing a mask.’
The comment resulted in a number of parents laughing and expressing their disagreement at the student’s remark.
The clip shows the two women smirking, sighing, and shaking their heads in dismissive disapproval as the student tried desperately to continue with his side of the debate.
Others in the audience can be heard shouting at him.
‘This is a very- this is a very-‘ Grady stutters, trying to ignore the outburst.
The boy is then forced to pause briefly, and even looks back at the audience, waiting to continue.
One attendee eventually shouts ‘shut up!’ at the protesters, in an effort to get the assembly back on track.
The boy is then forced to pause briefly and even looks back at the two disruptors
Finally, a member of the committee was forced to intervene.
‘Hey guys – we’re here to act professional,’ he says sternly.
‘Go ahead,’ he adds to Grady, who then goes on with his statement.
‘This is an avoidable issue and by not wearing masks in schools, it’s irresponsible,’ he says to the room, before adding, ‘We’re killing people.’
This garnered another sigh from one of the women behind him.
‘This is not something that we should be doing for the education of our students,’ Grady continued.
The meeting, which took place on Tuesday night, was aiming to determine if students in Rutherford County should be made to wear masks while in school, or if it should be the parents’ choice.
Grady attends Central Magnet High School in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, which has seen an increase in COVID-19 cases in recent months, like a multitude of other schools in the state
After more than three hours of debate, the board ruled that more research is needed before they vote on the issue, WZTV reported.
The debate came after a number of schools in Tennessee announced they would be closing in order to deal with sharp uptick of COVID-19 cases – with some being closed for the remainder of the week.
According to the Rutherford County School district, around 10,000 students had to be quarantined for at least one day last week.
Rutherford County currently has 1266 active cases of Covid, and a 17.54 percent positivity rate, the CDC reports.
As of Wednesday, Tennessee has recorded 1,109,923 Covid cases, and 13,714 deaths since the pandemic began.
Last week it was reported that Tennessee had hit record high cases in the state, surpassing its previous high during winter 2020.
Tennessee is averaging a record 9,912 new cases per day. The Volunteer state’s Department of Health was recently exposed for undercounting total hospitalizations by over 5,000
Tennessee was averaging 9,912 new cases per day, eclipsing a previous record set in December.
Cases grew by nearly 80 percent over the previous two weeks, though Tennessee also does not report cases daily.
The state has also been embroiled in controversy after recent reports the state’s Department of Health underreported COVID-19 hospitalizations by over 5,000 over the last 14 months.
According to a report by The Tennessean, many of the unreported hospitalizations were from over the record winter surge where dozens of ICU patients when unrecorded every day.
Corrected figures show that the Volunteer State has recorded 29,694 hospitalizations from COVID-19 since the pandemic began.
Half of Tennessee residents have received at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine so far, which is also well below the national average.
In July, the state’s top vaccine official, Dr Michelle Fiscus, stepped down under pressure from state leadership after accusations the Department of Health was attempting to undermine parents by offering the vaccine to minors.
State Republicans also attempted to abolish the Department of Health itself due to the accusations.
Tennessee suspended all vaccine outreach for minors in mid-July, a move Democrats say may hinder efforts to reach herd immunity against COVID-19.