‘We don’t have the power’ – St. Charles County Council says no to masks in schools

Missouri

ST. CHARLES COUNTY, Mo. – Dozens of St. Charles County residents gathered outside the county council’s meeting Monday night to show their support of not wanting mandatory mask requirements in schools.

St. Charles County Council adopted a resolution Monday night that made it clear it does not have any authority when it comes to mask mandates at schools.

“The St. Charles County Council hereby affirms that it has no authority to regulate school districts, that authority being reserved to each school district’s elected school board and the State of Missouri, and has not issued any mask mandates, or contact tracing or quarantine orders to school districts,” the resolution read.

All council members present approved the resolution. Councilman Joe Brazil was absent from the meeting. Council members Joe Cronin and Joe Brazil sponsored the resolution.

“Our goal is to remove the masks from our children at school,” Aimee Benninghofen, a Wentzville School District parent, said. “We’re not saying everyone, no one should wear a mask, what we’re saying is it should be a choice. The parents who want their children not to wear the mask should be given that choice.”

Benninghofen said her third-grade daughter was sent home from school for not wearing a mask in the Wentzville School District.

“You’re not going to like to hear this and I didn’t like to hear this either, as a county council, we don’t have the power to tell the schools what to do, they are a separate political party, this resolution just pretty much states that,” Cronin said.

“It’s a new divide. There’s always a divide, but when you have opposing factions, and you can’t please either one, the only path I would choose forward is liberty. Let them choose,” St. Charles County Parent James McCoy said.

St. Charles County leaders presented a November report from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education that said school mandates are not required in Missouri and the decision is at the local level by school administrators and school board officials.

The Wentzville School District said Monday it follows guidance from the CDC and St. Charles County Health Department. It also said plans to require masks for next school year have not been decided.

During Monday’s meeting, the county council discussed a letter sent from Fort Zumwalt Superintendent Bernard DuBray.

“Dr. Dubray sent out a letter on Wednesday that basically said help us get through the last 15 days of school,” County Council Chair Mike Elam said. He said the letter to his understanding said next school year will look more like a “regular school again.”

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