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Q: Should Schools Require Students to Wear Masks?

yes

“The government has the power to require masks during a time of crisis. We have to cooperate with one another and sometimes in doing so our individual rights may be affected for the benefit of the general welfare. Our government was required to balance individual freedoms with constitutional rights in the best interest of the general welfare to protect the public. The government has to constitutionally apply the least intrusive means necessary to deal with the exigent circumstances. Lawmakers must constantly keep this fine line of protection for the general welfare versus the intrusion of the individual’s guaranteed rights using the most up-to-date scientific information. During the pandemic, our right to education, assembly, religious worship, and pursuit of livelihood were all affected by mandatory shutdowns. Were these restrictions on civil liberties lawful? Can the government force you to stay home? The answer is, YES! “You needed to be six feet apart to maintain social distance and wear a mask.” This was common after public travel was allowed. Our founding fathers’ decision was to also include protections that provide both a shield and a sword to the people and the government. They knew that unlimited power can ultimately corrupt any government, and that above all the Constitution must be protected. Our agreement to be governed is a contract between the government, the people, and the states. It should provide clear and enumerated terms of the protections and limitations between the government and the governed. The Bill of Rights not only grants personal protections and rights to individuals, but it also limits the Federal government’s powers over the states and over court proceedings. The most powerful limitation on the Federal government states, “all powers not specifically granted to the U.S. Congress by the Constitution are reserved for the states or the people.” During this crisis, the state governments properly asserted the 10th Amendment to provide for the general welfare and placed restrictions by executive orders of their governors as needed on their individual states. The government relied on its authority with recently passed laws to address the public health crisis: “the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act , and the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act.” The government was able to justify its authority by looking back at precedent. A comparison could be established to “the shelter-in-place orders implemented during the coronavirus pandemic, to the rationing orders imposed during WWII and the Great Depression” as times when our individual freedoms can be limited for the benefit of the general public. Schools have the power to require masks, under health and safety guidelines, the question is Should They? More studies need to be done to support the benefit vs the harm so see if it meets the required standards I listed above. My vote is yes for now until we know more evidence.”

Ariana from California

no

“No, schools should not require students to wear masks. To force students to wear masks is to infringe on the rights of the parents’ decisions towards their children. According to CDC, children are at a much lower risk of transmitting and being harmed by Covid-19 than adults. Some studies show wearing masks might even be harmful to children. City Journal writes “A year of mask-wearing will scar some [students] psychologically—and maybe physically, too, according to a team of Italian professors of plastic surgery, who warn that the prolonged pressure from the elastic straps could leave young children with permanently protruding ears. By hiding teachers’ lips and muffling their speech, mask-wearing makes it harder for young children to develop linguistic skills and prevents children with hearing impairments from lip-reading.”Additionally, wearing masks makes socializing harder on students. This fact is especially troublesome because these students are at an age where socializing is critical. If there is a barrier between the students interacting it will be especially difficult for the quieter students to function in social events in the present and future. In review, even though the reason for mask requirements in schools is meant to protect the students, there are more negatives than positives; it may protrude students’ ears, make socializing difficult, set back young childrens’ linguistic skills, and infringe on the rights of the parents. Parents should have the right to choose if or if not their children wear masks in school.”

Maria from Kentucky

Think the Vote helps you to understand controversial topics and current events. Thinking through your vote is more than showing up on Election Day and picking the person that you like the best—it’s showing an interest in the world and the issues that surround you every day.

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“Let both sides explore what problems unite us instead of belaboring those problems which divide us.”

– President John F. Kennedy, Inaugural Address, January 20, 1961