Germ mask at school raises controversy - WECT, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Germ mask at school raises controversy


A Cheatham County high school student said she was sent to in-school suspension for refusing to remove the surgical mask she wore to school Thursday.

Several students at Sycamore High School came to school in protective masks Thursday after parents were notified the day before that a student there had tested positive for tuberculosis.

"I don't want to catch it, and I don't want anyone else to catch it," said Lexie Lynch, a freshman.

"When we walked into school with the masks on, they told us we had to take them off, that it wasn't dress code," she said.

Lynch said she was told to take off the mask or report to in-school suspension, known as ISS.

"As soon as I walked into the ISS room, the ISS teacher yelled at me, told me I had to take it off, that it's silly and stupid and there's no reason for me to wear it," Lynch said.

A public relations representative from the Cheatham County school system's central office said that wearing a surgical mask does not violate the student dress code.

Jeff Bennett, the public information officer, said if a parent or guardian wants to send a student to school wearing a medical mask, that's allowed.

The last several days have been tense at Sycamore High School.  Parents were notified Wednesday that a student had been exposed to TB in early March.

Some parents, like David Eidson, were angry they weren't told earlier.

"It makes me angrier," Eidson said after playing back a recorded message from the school.

"The more I hear it, the madder I get," he said.

The state health department is testing students who've been in close contact with the student who'd tested positive for TB.

Lynch said she was allowed to wear the mask after a vice principal intervened, but feels she should not have been sent to in-school suspension for trying to stay healthy.

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