A senior in high school spoke to the Hollis Brookline COOP school board on August 18, 2021. (Her dad is the gentleman who follows her.)
Hello. I live in Hollis.
Mr. Corey, my dad says you listen to students sometimes more than you listen to parents. So I am here to ask you and the school board to please end the mask mandates in our schools.
Masks are really uncomfortable. They make it hard to learn and hard to interact with your friends. For us seniors, Covid and these masks have stolen a big part of our high school experience. The last part of sophomore year and all of junior year were ruined. Please let us have our senior year without these masks.
On a personal level, I have hearing aids and the masks prevent me from seeing people’s lips move which is important for me to understand what they are saying. It’s hard to talk with friends. It is hard to understand in class.
The solution for me last year was that I was put in the quiet library watching classes online. But I was alone most of the time. Please end the mask mandates so I can be back in class and enjoy my friends.
Finally, I may be the only person in this community to be able to say what I’m about to say so please listen to me. I grew up for the first 14 years of my life in Communist China before being adopted into my family here in Hollis.
In China there is no freedom. There is no voting to elect school board members. There is no freedom of speech or meetings like this to debate and try to convince people to do things a different way.
In China there are only mandates. Those mandates come from the very top of the Communist Party and whatever they say you must do.
It doesn’t matter if the decision has bad consequences. It doesn’t matter if the mandate doesn’t make sense. You have no choice. You must do it or there will be a price to pay.
I love America because of the freedom I have. So many Americans don’t appreciate it because it is all you have ever known. Freedom is valuable and my dad says freedom is like a muscle that must be exercised to be healthy.
I love America because I can vote and someday start a business of my very own.
I love America because I can stand at this microphone and speak to you even as a student and you value my input. Who knows, I may be the one to convince you to change your vote and end these mandates. That would never happen in China.
But I see in America things that are looking more like China. I see how the very top of government is issuing mandates and expecting everyone to follow.
I am asking you to act like Americans. Exercise your muscle of freedom. Evaluate the evidence and show your independence as the elected school board of this community. Reject mandates and please give us kids freedom from these masks. Thank you.