Ohio student, 10, confronts anti-maskers at board meeting: 'Please be quiet. It's inappropriate'

Kaylan Park (10 years old) returns to her seat with her mother Kenyona Matthews (right), as she is applauded for speaking out in support of the mask mandate for school districts, despite being repeatedly interrupted during a meeting of the board of education on Wednesday, October 6.
AKRON (Ohio) The youngest person to speak in favor of masks in Wednesday's school board meeting in Cuyahoga Fall, Ohio decided that she was not going to let the anti-maskers steal all her thunder.

Kaylan Park, 10, was a pro-mask speaker who had seen other speakers interrupt her by people opposing the district's mandate. A few of those opposing speakers ended up walking out of that meeting in anger.

Critics protested the district's earlier this month decision to extend its mask mandate to at least Oct. 29, in order to protect students, staff and against COVID-19.

Kaylan, a fifth grader, did not let the tension intimidate.

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As he leaves the Cuyahoga Falls Board of Education meeting, Wednesday, October 6, a man shouts at a supporter of the mask mandate.

"You guys should know that masks save people's lives."

Kaylan stated, "It's weird to be here because adults aren't convinced that children should wear masks," when Kaylan was ready to speak. "A lot of you guys, however, are adults. Masks can save lives, and you guys need to be able recognize that.

Kaylan replied to some members of the audience who voiced their disagreement: "Can you please speak?" Let me speak, before you guys go away."

She was greeted with applause.

Kaylan was prompted to speak emphatically by some audience members who kept talking. Kaylan said, "Please be quietIt is inappropriate that you guys cannot stay silent."

Kaylan, who was wearing the mask with the message "Masks Save Lives," said that covering one's face is an act of kindness towards others.

On Wednesday, Oct. 6, opponents of the mask mandate interrupted speakers who were supporting the mandate at a Cuyahoga Falls Board of Education meeting.

She said, "You're doing this for your safety." It's like kindness. My teacher told me that if you do something for someone else, they will do it back. They will wear a mask if you make it for them. Wear a mask to show kindness. It's showing kindness.

After Kaylan returned to her seat, some audience members raised their hands and applauded. Others patted Kaylan on the shoulder.

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Board meetings are usually held in the high school library. However, Wednesday's session was moved to the Natatorium after several people refused to wear masks at the last meeting.

No need to cover your face if the meeting is taking place.

Superintendent Dr. Todd Nichols pointed out Kaylan when discussing Wednesday's mask mandate. He said, "The truth is, I have to keep her in school."

Karen Schofield, President of Cuyahoga Falls Board of Education said Kaylan's interactions with the audience served as a reminder of how important it is to listen respectfully to other perspectives in civil discussions.

Schofield stated, "Whether you are a child or an adult, I believe that continuing to behave responsibly and respectfully is still an element [of civil discourse] no matter what your position on a particular topic." "Kaylan just reminded us that civil discourse requires respect.

Follow Phil Keren on twitter: @keren_phil

This article was originally published on Akron Beacon Journal. Ohio fifth grader protests adults using masks