Central Parents Speak Out on Masks

By Jolice Provost, Central City News • CENTRAL — Although very reluctant to do so, the Central School Board accepted public comments on the Governor’s current statewide mask “order”.  Speakers included the following:

LANCE MOULIN – I know most of you guys. I’m Lance Moulin, 17345 Berks Avenue, Greenwell Springs. Supt. Fountain, I appreciate everything you’ve done for our school system. The vision you’ve presented is a vast improvement from where we’ve been and thank you for that. I’m not an attorney, but I did read the Attorney General’s opinion that was issued last week on the governor’s mandate. 

Whether or not it is mandatory for schools to follow, I strongly urge you to look at it. You have said your vision for Central Community Schools is to be a world class system. To be a world class system, you can’t do the same thing as everyone else. I ask you to look at opportunities, and not go by what everyone else thinks.  


JULIE MYRICK – I’m Julie Myrick, and I’ve had several children come through this school system. For the most part, I have been very, very pleased. However, I don’t understand why we’ve been doing this for over a year. Obviously, it doesn’t work. So why do we keep doing it? 

I believe when evil men created this virus, it didn’t surprise God. God knew what they were going to do. I’ve had family members who have gotten ill and some who have died. That didn’t surprise God either. God knows who is going to die and who’s not. 

We need to use our common sense — the brains God gave us. 

If you’re sick, stay at home. If you’re scared and want to wear a mask, wear a mask! But don’t force me to do if I’m not sick and I’m not spreading disease. It makes no sense for me or my children to have to wear a mask! One last thing: Thank you all very much for listening to our concerns tonight.


BRITTNEY SHERLIN – Hi, my name is Brittany Sherlin, 13322 Dorset Ave. 70818. I work with a group called Health Freedom Louisiana and we work with legislators. We have put together two letters that I would like to read. I have sent these letters to Dr. Fountain and every member on the school board. But I’ve not gotten one response! I was told by Ms. Roxanne that I should call BESE because it’s out of their hands. 

I’m going to read these letters so that you parents have this information. It’s very important that this information is out there. Parents, as affirmed in Louisiana Children’s Code, you have a paramount right to determine the appropriate medical and preventative health care for your children — not the state and not the CDC. 

Just like COVID-19 vaccines, masks are under an emergency use authorization. Federal law states an individual has the right to refuse an experimental medical intervention under EUA. Last year federal law was broken and your child’s rights were violated when you were not made aware that masks are a medical intervention under EUA, of the significant known risks of wearing a mask, the right to refuse, appropriate monitoring and reporting of adverse events associated with masking. 

Last year, parents rights were violated when the state determined what was the best for you and your children. Last school year, medical ethics were violated when an untested medical intervention was forced on weaker members of society to protect adults. 

There is no industry standard for masks. Scientists are raising concerns about future complications of inhaled nanoparticles from long-term mask wearing by children. There’s no evidence, because zero studies have been done, that long-term mask wearing by children is safe in regards to mental or physical health, and that it does not impact learning or brain function. 

Where are the safety studies? Article 1, Section 20 of our state’s constitution recognizes and affirms our right not to be tortured. Article 1, Sections 3 and 12 prohibit discrimination based on physical condition. 

Healthy children should not be masked, discriminated against or ostracized.  Parents, Gov. Edwards has made it clear that he wants the schools to follow his latest executive order. We want you to as well, proclamation number 137 JBE 2021 provides several exceptions to the face covering requirement including any individual with a medical condition that prevents the wearing of a face covering. (pause. interruption) Dr. Gardner! 

DR. JIM GARDNER – Ma’am,  you’ve exceeded your three minutes. We warned you at 10 seconds. 

Audience – She can have mine! 

DR. GARDNER – Well, we don’t have a rule concerning that. 

BRITTNEY SHERLIN (continuing) – Section E of Proclamation 137 states operators of businesses and organizations are entitled to rely on the representation of their customers, patrons and employees regarding whether or not they qualify for an exception from… (pause, interruption) 

DR. KEITH HOLMES – Ma’am, if the person behind you in line would like to give you her three minutes, then she can go sit down.  Order, please! Order. Order! 

BRITTNEY SHERLIN – I have one more, half a page.  My husband will finish reading Thank you, just start from the top!


DANIEL SHERLIN – Gov. Edwards has made it clear that he wants the schools to follow his latest executive order. We want you to as well! [Referring to school board members] Proclamation No. 137 JBE 2021 provided several exceptions to the face covering requirement including any individual with a medical condition that prevents the wearing of a face covering. Section E of proclamation No. 137 JBE states, operators of businesses and organizations are entitled to rely on the representation of their customers, patrons, and employees regarding whether or not they qualify for an exception from the face covering requirement. 

In other words, superintendent, your school may take you at your word that your child has a medical exception to the governor’s latest Proclamation. Parents, if the superintendent of your school requires anything beyond what the governor is requiring — a doctor’s note, for example ­— is not the governor’s order. So please, parents, when you tell the school that your child will not be wearing a face mask at school because of their medical condition, you are in compliance with the governor’s orders. 

Every child has a need to breathe unhindered by masks. We know that some private schools are offering religious and philosophical exemptions and liability waivers. If they can do this, public schools can too! So those were Brittany’s words, I am not quite the activist that she is, but I am here for my daughter, Abigail Sherlin, who some of you may know, I don’t know, she is an exemplary student. She loves going to school. She’s very different than I was, I didn’t really enjoy it, what I wanted was to be outside playing! But she’s, a good girl and a straight A student.  She loves every bit of the Central School System. But it puts me in a bad position as a parent to have to decide whether to stand up for what’s right or let my child do what she wants to do. And that’s where we find ourselves. 


CAROL JACKSON – I’m Carol Jackson, 17530 Ashton Ave. Greenwell Springs. I’m a grandparent of a 2021 graduate. He’s an honor student. I have three other grandchildren in this system. What I would like to talk about is, I believe it’s our duty as parents, grandparents and other concerned parties to protect our students and our teachers from an overreaching government by protecting their rights regarding wearing a mask and vaccinations. 

No matter what our stance, our constitutional rights as Americans must be protected! The Nuremberg Code of 1947 was adopted after World War II, where the atrocities of Nazi scientists were recognized as inhumane and a violation of our inalienable rights given to us by God. At that time, all NATO nations, which the United States was one of, agreed to never to allow medical experimentation to take place without the consent of the individual. 

Vaccines are still experimental at this point. They will be experimental for at least another year or two. And I’m saying masking the kids is too because it’s never been tested in a long term, situation. Also, La. R.S. 29:724 to 736 does not allow our governor to overstep the boundaries. His powers are enumerated and limited. Closing businesses, lock downs, masks and vaccine mandates are not within his power. Therefore, any statute or mandate that violates our constitutional rights is null and void. 

Teachers, students, and individual citizens must be guaranteed our individual rights as human beings, as spelled out in the Constitution. 

Some people say it’s only a mask, it’s only a vaccine. It’s just the vaccine passport. What’s the big deal? 

But at what point does control stop? I wonder if that’s what the German citizens thought when they were asked to accept the separation and eventual execution of their neighbors and their family members. Where does history show that this ended? 

Teachers and students should not be subjected to eight hours a day wearing a cloth mask, which does little to stop the spread of the virus? A virus that is so small, it’s like trying to keep a mosquito from passing through a chain link fence! Even N95 masks are only 95 percent effective even if worn correctly.  Cloth masks do not come even close to a 95 percent efficacy. 

My grandson was told that if you need to breathe, if you can’t breathe, go in the corner and have a breathing break, because I guess the virus can’t touch us there. 

My father served as a World War II veteran, I’m proud to say. His generation was not afraid to fight against tyranny. In the pages of history, where will we as a nation stand and as individuals? Will we be remembered as someone who is not afraid to fight or someone who was easily bent to the wheel of overreaching governments? 

As school board members, you should ask yourself these questions. If we keep saying there’s nothing we can do, the mandates won’t stop!  Take a stand fight for the teachers, the children, and our freedom!


MEG AUCOIN – Hey, my name is Megan Aucoin, 13932 Spreading Oaks. I have four kids in the school system. Three of them have disabilities that would make wearing masks difficult. Two of my children have speech impediments and we currently receive speech therapy in our schools. 

One thing that they do in therapy is watch how the mouth moves when they pronounce words. I feel like this is a vital part of their ability to continue with their speech therapy.  

Next, I would like to talk about my other daughter. She will be attending Tanglewood this year. She was diagnosed with a brain tumor at four, which has paralyzed her on her right side. She has no function in her right hand and little in her right leg. This makes everyday life difficult, and I feel like putting a mask on will further hinder her day to day life. 

I noticed that some of the board members have removed their masks. I would assume this is so you can be heard. I’m requesting that my children are granted the same freedoms that you are. 

I am not asking you to change the government’s mask mandate. I’m simply asking you to not discipline or bully my children for wearing or not wearing a mask. I respectfully ask that you add the language suggested by Kim Powers to the Student Handbook that would allow me and my children to make our own choices about the mask. Thank you.


JENNIFER COTTANO-HOGLUND, 17960 Will Ave., Greenwell Springs. My son is going into the 6th grade at Central Middle School this year. He asked me if he could come up here and speak. 

I would like to know why you don’t have a mask on [referring to a board member] and you haven’t had one on basically the whole time we’ve been here. You’re not talking and you’re not drinking, and you aren’t six feet apart. 

JENNIFER’S SON – I don’t like to wear masks. You can barely breathe. If you breathe in too much carbon dioxide you can die. And I want to live, I don’t want to die! 


JENNIFER (continuing) – In addition to that, I have five kids enrolled within the Central Community School System. Jason Fountain, you and I have had many conversations. I know half of the teachers and staff sitting in these two rows right here. Of my five children, three of them either have an IEP or 504. Three of them have severe anxiety. 

My child was in 8th grade, when we started transitioning her from special needs classes to regular classes.  I had to take her to school for a week because she would sit on the floor of her math class, shaking having a panic attack. When she’s having a panic attack, she’s told to get up and walk out of the classroom so you can take your mask off. Now, if you’re having a panic attack, do you really want to walk in front of all of your peers and be embarrassed even more? So she can be bullied a little bit more?  It’s bad enough that she’s in an IEP class. She’s in speech therapy. So let’s make it a little worse and let her walk in front of all of her peers while she’s having a panic attack. Because that makes all the sense in the world. 

It says that they have to have a medical condition. It does not say that it is required that they have a doctor’s excuse, as you stated.  My children will not have a doctor’s excuse and they will not have on a mask. If you want to kick them out of the school, that’s fine. That’s just more money you’re going to lose, because that’s all you’re worried about.


DAVID DeLAUGHTER – My name is David  Delaughter, 17443 Hearthwood in Northwoods. You guys are our board! You are not the governor’s board appointed to rule us! You’re our board! You’re elected to serve us in the interest of our children — for us, okay? At the outset of this, a statement was made that the governor has issued this mandate, and that the board has no authority to oppose it. 

As I understand it, that’s inaccurate. I don’t think the governor legally has any authority on the local level. I think you guys have complete autonomy to do what you want to do. Now I also understand if true, and correct me if I’m wrong, that the hesitation to oppose the government mandate is because of a promise from the BESE board to backup any lawsuits, taken up and filed against this board. 

If that is the case, that is grossly offensive, because you’d be trampling our freedoms to save some money! If that’s not the case, please, please tell me that this is not what you’re doing! 

As far as the masks go, I’d like to raise a couple of issues there. No 1, Dr. Holmes, correct me if I’m wrong on this, but one of the major ways the virus is transmitted is through oral-fecal transmission. People sneeze into their hands, cough, touch surfaces, they go to the bathroom, they don’t flush, especially children, they touch surfaces. And then these kids take these masks off, put them down repeatedly, to take them back up and put them onto their face. This is a contradiction of every thing that we’re trying to stop with the mask in the first place! 

No. 2, I understand that the virus is much smaller than the fibers of the mask. When the air passes through the mask, so does the virus. So this also contradicts the reason for the mask. 

Now, I’m gonna give you a little anecdote as an analogy. When Katrina hit, I worked for the Baton Rouge Police Department. I was sent to the Centroplex to receive people from New Orleans who were being displaced. 

I was at a door with two metal detectors to make sure that no weapons were brought in. People were coming in, and we were checking them. I was there for a few minutes and looked across the room and there were three other doors propped open with traffic freely coming in and out — the very people who were supposed to be coming through the metal detectors. So I called a supervisor and said, “Why are we doing this?” She said, “Yeah,  I know, but they want those doors to remain open. So let’s just keep doing this.” That’s absurd! And that’s the same thing we’re doing with these masks. You want to wear the mask to stop the virus but the mask does not stop the virus on any level. As a community, we strongly oppose any mandate for our children or for our teachers. If they want to wear a mask, that’s their decision, but we oppose any mandate that they must wear a mask. It’s offensive to us!  Thank you.


KIM POWERS – Hi, I’m Kim Powers, 12515 Sullivan Rd. As to the statement that the Central School Board has no authority over these matters and must yield to the governor, that’s false! The Attorney General is the chief legal advisor to the State of Louisiana. He spelled that out in his opinions rendered last July and then this past Friday. 

The bottom line is yes, you have the power and the governor has no authority over you and specifically no power to order kids to mask. 

Finally please don’t tell our family that we have to settle for virtual classes. The cry of segregationists for a century was separate but equal, but just as in segregation days we learned last year that separate was not equal. The virtual students did not receive a quality education and that’s what my family experienced. My daughters are normal and they are healthy. They deserve to sit in the classroom — in a normal classroom and have the rights that every American has, the right to breathe free. 


CHELSEY ROY – Hi, my name is Chelsey Roy, 18115 Magnolia Bend Road in Magnolia Bend neighborhood. I just want to say that I absolutely respect all of y’all.  Ms. Ruby was my principal growing up at Bellingrath Elementary. Coach Wells was my principal as well. I respect all of y’all to the utmost. Dr. Fountain, I know you have been put in a very, very difficult position and I respect you. 

I will never, never stop fighting for my kids. My biggest issue is with two of my kids. They graduated speech but are now being put back in speech because of being masked and because of having to talk through the mask. He got to remove his mask during speech therapy, and I was very, very appreciative of that. But now we’ve moved on and it’s causing another speech impediment because he is having to speak through the mask. 

Our outside speech therapist is saying these things. And that is a huge concern of mine. I have another child who has sensory processing disorder. He can’t even get a haircut without crying because it hurts. There are different things with sensory kids that hurt them. And my little Ant, I call him. Ant because that’s his name. He says it hurts. I don’t know how to force him to wear a mask if it hurts. And yes, we can get a doctor’s note to say that he has sensory processing, but is it really necessary when you have a child that cries and says that it hurts. 

I have no problem wearing it myself, in doctor’s offices and to protect myself with my health issues. My oldest son will comply and will wear it. He’s moving on to Central Private and he has to wear it, but not in the classroom. He only has to wear it walking into the building and in the hallways. So, I just ask that y’all look at some of the other bigger picture items, especially SPEC children and see what y’all can do for them.


JESSICA BENNETT, 11333 Core Lane. My daughter asked to speak about her brother and how it affects him to wear a mask. 

JESSICA’S daughter – My brother has sensory processing disorder and can’t wear a mask for a very long time. He had to do virtual all last year because of the mask problem. And no one is allowing K-5th to do virtual this year, so he has to go to school wearing a mask for the whole year. 


JAMIE POPE, 17022 Weyanoke Drive in Zachary. I’ve already pulled my three kids from Central Community School System. My issue began before Covid and it’s sad because I bought a home here for the schools. However, I am still a taxpayer. So I feel my opinion should matter some. I’ve had teachers message me in private who applaud my decision. I’ve had some of them tell me how upset the are, but they don’t feel like they have the opportunity to express that without being on the bad side of their bosses, if you will. 

There are other schools that are not planning on enforcing these mandates. We keep hearing that your hands were tied, but they’re not! BESE ensured that you can’t use that excuse because they constantly say that they are just guidelines or recommendations. I spoke to the legislators. They said philosophical and religious exemptions should be accepted. 

Medical exemptions should be accepted without having to provide doctor’s excuses. Now schools are saying only medical exemptions will be accepted, and they will require physicians to formally attest to the content of the exemption. That’s not necessarily here, that’s just letters from other school systems. 

Last year, students were basically put in time out for needing to breathe. Some students have gotten detention and other types of discipline for not wearing a mask. I’ve seen the majority of you without a mask and I respect that. I don’t like to wear one either. 

Yet no one wants to stand up for these children. Your hands are not tied. Dr. Rand Paul recently said, “They can’t arrest all of us. They can’t keep all of your kids home from school. They can’t keep every government building closed. Although I’ve got a long list of ones that they might keep closed or  might ought to keep closed! We don’t have to accept the mandates, lockdowns, and harmful policies of petty tyrants and bureaucrats!

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