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‘Your liberty to swing your fists ends just where my nose begins’: Leon County School Board meeting held as system sets record for new cases

Tuesday night, the Leon County School Board expressed growing concern as the debate on masks in schools continue to take center stage.
Published: Sep. 7, 2021 at 10:35 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - COVID-19 cases in Leon County Schools aren’t slowing down. Tuesday night, the Leon County School Board expressed growing concern as the debate on masks in schools continue to take center stage.

The first order of business Tuesday, though, was approving the system’s budget, which Superintendent Rocky Hanna says is in good shape.

Of course, that’s not what another packed room of parents was there for.

“Your liberty to swing your fists ends just where my nose begins,” Hanna said Tuesday.

It’s become a regular sentiment for the Leon County Superintendent, defending his decision to require masks for K-8 students.

“And every day when parents drop their children off, they want them to be safe,” he continued.

Tuesday, the numbers painted a dire picture: A new record in cases.

“We had 55 students and six staff members that were reported positive for a total of 61,” Hanna said.

That news alarmed board members. Some even asked to require masks in high schools.

“If things continue to get worse, I think we’re going to have to make requirements of all of our students, whether that be at sports events or in the classrooms,” said board member Rosanne Wood.

Soon after, another spirited - but shorter - public comment period, which featured some thanks.

“Know that I am behind you, I support you, and I will be praying for you,” one parent said.

“This is happening while everyone is masked up, so how are those masks in schools truly working?” said another, as calls were repeated that masks aren’t the answer.

But, in the end, came a call for unity from Board Chair Joy Bowen.

”We’ve been talked to, talked about. We’ve been preached to, we’ve been threatened, we have been commended we have been heard, but we are still in this together. We are not going to be run away these are our children,” she said.

Tuesday’s agenda item was just informative and the idea of a high school mandate, or some sort of limitation of sporting event crowds, did not take any action.

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