Masks in schools? NJ girl, 7, asks Howell school board to reconsider
From the mouths of babes. We all know how the parents feel about Gov. Murphy's mandate forcing elementary school children to wear a mask when they go back in the fall, but rarely have we heard how the children themselves feel. Enter 7-year-old Hailey Bolton.
From her mother, Alexandra, who talked to me over Facebook.
"Hailey is in the 1st grade at Land O'Pines Elementary school in Howell. Wednesday night she took mask matters into her own hands by delivering a speech that she herself wrote at the Howell Board of Education meeting."
In her speech, Hailey asks the board to "help us get rid of these masks." She argues that, "These masks don't make sense anymore," saying that she and her brothers "can take their masks off at stores and indoor places soon, everywhere except school."
Hailey goes on to say how important school is to her. "School is one of the most important places I go."
What would make Hailey happy? Hailey tells the board, "It would make me happy if we could take our masks off so I could see my friends smile and my teacher's faces, It's starting to get hot outside and it's really uncomfortable in a mask."
She then goes into some personal medical history
"When I was 3 I started getting really bad headaches. They hurt me so bad that sometimes I even had to throw up. my Mom took me to the doctors and they gave me an MRI and told me that I was fine I just had migraines. Drinking water and laying down helped me feel better and also taking deep breaths. Wearing a mask for a long time makes me feel worse. I am sad and have to get headaches this year going to school because of my mask."
Hailey goes on to say:
"I moved here to Howell in the middle of kindergarten, and then when I started to feel comfortable, coronavirus happened and school closed, and then this year I had to wear a mask everyday. Next year is my last year at Land O'Pines school so I wanted my last year to be normal so I can see my friends and what they actually look like."
"My Mom told me that Mr. Isola can't tell us to take our masks off because he has to listen to the governor. Since you are the superintendent, can you please call him for us and tell him that we don't want to wear masks anymore?"
Hailey's gutsy speech ended with a loud ovation from the crowd. How did this come to be? Hailey's mother, Alexandra Bolton, told me via Facebook messenger.
"I asked my daughter if she would mind if I spoke at the BOE meeting and instead she told me she wanted to speak. She spent two nights writing a speech and practiced it over a dozen times."
Then came the night which can be and was intimidating for a 7-year-old girl.
"When we got there she was shaking she was so nervous seeing the way the board room was set up." But she overcame her fear and went up there making her mother proud.
"When she walked up there I couldn’t keep the tears from flowing. She could barely see over the podium, yet she made sure her voice was heard. We are very proud of Hailey for having the courage to speak up against the outrageous, inconsistent, and science-defying policies coming out of the governor's office. Mandating that our children wear masks in September is completely unacceptable to the overwhelming majority of NJ parents." I couldn't agree more.
I asked Alexandra if she thinks Hailey's speech will make a difference?
"As the governor relies on political science, as opposed to actual science, to make decisions, the only way to effect change is to continuously speak out. We encourage all parents and children to make sure your voice is heard. As another brave student mentioned at the meeting, children aren’t meant to protect adults. Adults are meant to protect the children, and we will continue to fight for the right to do so."
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Steve Trevelise. Any opinions expressed are Steve's own. Steve Trevelise is on New Jersey 101.5 Monday-Thursday from 7pm-11pm. Follow him on Twitter @realstevetrev.