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Counter protest in Grand Rapids breaks out over potential mask mandate in schools

Anti Mask Protest 16.jpg
JOHN ROTHWELL
/
JOHN ROTHWELL

Two groups—one pro-mask, one anti-mask face off outside Kent County Health Department Friday

A rally to pressure Kent County Health Officials into mandating masks in schools this fall---became overwhelmed Friday afternoon by hundreds of anti-mask demonstrators--- who turned up in counter protest.

The initial rally outside the Kent County Health Department on Fuller Ave. in Grand Rapids had been organized by Smart Science Alliance, a group of parents across Kent County who were trying to get schools to mandate masks, since most kids can’t get vaccinated.

Lily Cheng Schulting is a former Democratic nominee for the Michigan House…

“I have been to many rallies, I have never seen a rally by the way, in which the other group has to surround us on two sides,” Schulting said.

She’s speaking of the hundreds of anti-mask protestors who showed up in opposition, out numbering pro-mask demonstrators by an estimated 5-1.

In that group is Amanda, a dental hygienist in Grand Rapids.

“Masks on children, are unnecessary, they are harmful, they collect bacteria, they are bacteria traps on children, the virus doesn’t even effect children.”

Fact checking, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of August 11th, there have been 131 COVID-19 related deaths for children ages 0-4, and 292 deaths for those 5-18.

Meanwhile, districts like Grand Rapids Public Schools have said they will not mandate masks this fall, only strongly recommend it.

Sean Cordier says, he isn’t buying it.

“We’ve had eighteen months of this, and how many times have you been subjected to the shifting sands of the changing mandates,” he said. “I would tell you that come fall, we will be mandated to both wear masks and be vaccinated unless we get in front of this and tell people that there is an alternative.”

Meanwhile, Schulting says, her group is just trying to keep kids safe.

“Last Spring, when schools were either closed or in hybrid school, everyone wore masks to school. It wasn’t a big deal,” Schulting said.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday in a 5-2 decision, Michigan’s Board of Education decided to leave the decision to mandate masks in schools this fall up to individual districts.

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