An email exchange between a parent and Southwest Allen County Schools (SACS) board president has sparked a new controversy around requirement of masks in school. The president in an email this week said that he believes mask wearing is mostly ineffective play a role in "causing the rapid rise in suicides and mental health issues in children."
Southwest Allen County Schools is a school district in Indiana and has six neighborhood elementary schools. In an email exchange with a parent, SACS board president Bradley Mills claimed that wearing masks "do very little" to stop the COVID-19 virus. He told WANE TV "masks are like a mosquito flying through a chain link fence."
The Parent Sent a Message to Mills That Schools Should Adopt a Universal Masking Policy
The parent Rachel Drummond has three children attending Lafayette Meadows school, but in addition she's a mother to an immuno-depressed toddler and argues that a mandatory mask policy would lessen chances her elementary age kids would bring the coronavirus back into her home, reported Fort Wayne's NBC.
Drummond said she's been emailing the school board weekly to try "to make schools safe," as her family, along with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), believe that in-person school is the best option for kids' social and emotional health, according to WANE TV.
Typically, Drummond says she just gets a one-sentence answer, if any answer at all from board members. However, the reply she received on August 24, was a different story, reported the TV station.
What Was Written in the Email?
In the email, Mills wrote, "Ms. Drummond. I appreciate your opinion. The research I have done leads me to believe that masks do very little (less than 10%) to stop the virus in a classroom environment. I believe the emotional and psychological problems from masks and the non-normality of things is causing the rapid rise in suicides and mental health issues in children."
Mills Stands by His Statements
WANE 15 talked with Mills on the phone Friday. He said he stood by his email "for the most part in principle," but may reword a few sentences if he could write it again. While he acknowledged he is not a medical expert, but said he's "educated" and has done "a lot of research."
No Evidence to Support Mill's Theory
"There is no evidence that a child wearing a mask causes depression or anxiety," Dr. Jeremy Kendrick, a specialist in Adult, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry said. "The evidence that we have does not point us to any concern that masks affect mental health negatively," according to Fort Wayne's NBC.
Social Media Users Slams Mills Over his 'Misleading' Claims
Mills is receiving a backlash on social media with many netizens demanding his immediate resignation. One Twitter user said, "He does owe the community an apology for his conduct and inaccuracies."
Another wrote, "The rise in suicide in teen and 10â11-year-olds is attributed to the pandemic in general leading to more stressors but is not attributed in specific to masks."
One comment read, "The irony of all of this ...he works for Parkview. Why would anyone work for a hospital, in any capacity, if they have such opposite position on this? But he has to wear a mask to work every single day...but they don't work. He doesn't care about our kids. He should resign."
Another comment read, "Don't you know? He got his public health education from Facebook, just like all the other antimaskers."