Bedford County school leaders step out, law enforcement steps in during mask mandate outbursts in school board meeting

The board ultimately voted 4-3 to enforce the mask mandate

BEDFORD COUNTY, Va. – News over the latest mask mandate is causing a lot of frustration and confusion for parents and school leaders.

Dozens of parents packed the Bedford County School Board meeting Thursday to voice their concerns over the new mask mandate.

Some disrupted the meeting to the point where board members stepped out of the room, forcing law enforcement to get involved.

The meeting came just hours after Virginia state leaders announced that all schools will require masks while inside school buildings—regardless of vaccination status.

Parents urged the Bedford County school board to stand up against the mandate.

“You need to make decisions on what’s best for our children, not Governor [Ralph] Northam. Stand up and fight. We need you to be a voice for our children who do not have a voice in this fight,” said one parent.

Others spoke out in favor of the new mandate while being interrupted by other parents.

“I urge the board to conform to the spirit of this mandate. I know there are a lot of people here who are trying to supersede this,” said one masked parent before an outburst from other parents.

The board ultimately voted 4-3 to enforce the mask mandate.

In a statement to 10 News, Bedford County Public Schools said:

Since the start of the school year, we have been receiving requests from parents who have expressed concerns about their student being unable to wear a face mask for medical reasons. We are currently awaiting further regulatory guidance from state health and education officials regarding possible exemptions relative to the executive order from the state health commissioner, specifically a list of appropriate accommodations, alternatives, and/or adaptations.

About the Author:

Tim Harfmann joined the 10 News team in September 2020 and works at the station's Lynchburg bureau.