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Kent County Commissioners get an earful from angry parents over mask mandate

John Rothwell

Over a thousand parents packed into a ballroom at DeVos Place for a public comment meeting that lasted all day

Over a thousand angry parents attended the Kent County Board of Commissioners meeting Thursday to voice their disapproval of the recent public school mask mandate.

The Kent County Board of Commissioners listened for hours during the public comment period of the meeting, as parent after parent complained about the recent health order that requires all preschool through 6th grade students, to wear a mask when inside a public elementary school building this fall.

Commissioners were quick to point out Thursday, that the mandate however, is not a decision made by the Kent County Board--nor do they have the authority to overturn it—that decision belongs to Dr. Adam London, Kent County’s Public Health Officer who addressed the crowd on camera for his safety.

London explained to the crowd that even if he resigned, or if he was fired, the next public health officer who replaced him would make the same decision to mandate masks in school this fall—because the job is entirely about keeping Kent County healthy.

The debate has stretched across West Michigan and the country, as parents argue it should be their decision alone whether to send their child to school in a mask, or without one.