An unnamed boy started transitional kindergarten at Theuerkauf Elementary on Aug. 10.
The boy suffers from sensory issues and has had difficulty wearing a face mask during the pandemic. The boy became distressed when he had to wear a mask during visits to the doctor and dentist – but the healthcare workers made accommodations for the boy with developmental issues.
The father – who only identified himself as “Shawn” out of safety concerns – claimed that he began communicating with the Mountain View Whisman School District in the spring. However, Shawn said the superintendent was unresponsive.
The school district allegedly told the father that his son could delay attending school until the age of six.
An incident emerged on Thursday after the boy had been denied access to the school since Monday. The boy’s father recorded the confrontation between him and the school’s principal – Michelle Williams.
The boy is escorted out of the classroom by Williams.
“I welcome him here and I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, I want him here but it is our district’s policy to have to wear a mask,” Williams tells the boy’s father in the video.
“I am here to serve all our students on our campus,” she said. “I cannot keep spending time on this same issue.”
Williams told the father, “I’m going to have to have you removed from campus if you do not leave at this time.”
A police officer was called, and asked Shawn to leave the campus.
“I can’t say what they are doing is wrong; I can’t say what you are doing is wrong,” the officer told the father. “Both sides have valid points. For me, I just have to ensure on the campus as a whole that kids get their education.”
Shawn told the Daily Mail, “They told me to force it on him. They are basically telling me to assault and batter my son.”
“I do have a medical background, I’ve worked extensively in the healthcare environment. I’m well-versed in medical law,” he added. “And in essence, they are breaking it.
“They feel like they can walk all over it,” Shawn continued. “If a patient does not offer consent, they can not touch the patient. We’re going to continue to challenge this.”
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, “Over the next four days, he brought his son to school and was turned away. He also hired an attorney, who sent the district a cease-and-desist letter, demanding Shawn’s son be allowed to attend school as required by the state’s constitution.”
The father is reportedly considering legal action against the school.
Shawn’s attorney – Tracy Henderson with the California Parents Union – asserted that the school broke the law by refusing the child.
“The school’s authority in a situation of public health issues, by law, is only to send a sick child home,” Henderson said.
During Thursday night’s board meeting, the school district made masks optional.
“We are now in the medium tier, so starting tomorrow, we are now in ‘masks optional’ for students,” said Superintendent Ayinde Rudolph.
The school district determines if masks need to be worn on a week-by-week basis based on COVID-19 cases.
Masks will still be required on buses, at large events, and for any school visitors.
Shawn was unsatisfied that the school district lifted the mask mandate because he noted that they could easily reinstate the rule.
The father wants the policy to have a parental choice on whether their children are forced to wear masks to attend school.
“I’m watching my son. I’m waking him up every day to go to school, get turned away with tears in his eyes,” the father said. “He doesn’t know what’s going on, he’s visibly upset, visibly disheveled by getting turned away and rejected.”
“I just think it’s time to move forward, the kids need to see faces, they need to see people smiling, they need to have a brighter outlook on the future in general,” he told KABC-TV.
Superintendent Ayindé Rudolph said in a statement, “Our primary responsibility as a school district is the safety of students and staff members in order to create a peaceful learning and working environment for all on our campuses.”
Rudolph said it was “unfortunate” that the parent was recording a video of the confrontation with the principal.
“I’m disappointed that civil discourse is no longer the rule,” Rudolph said.
Board member Christopher Chiang said, “There is so much nasty politics and dangerous rhetoric and ideologies out there, we’re bringing a target to our district when we do that. Please don’t post it online. That changes everything.”
School calls police on four year old for not wearing a mask.