UPDATED: Parents criticize Klein ISD's mask policy

Priscilla Lashley, a KISD parent, spoke against Klein ISD's mask mandate at the April 12 school board meeting. (Andy Li/Community Impact Newspaper)
Priscilla Lashley, a KISD parent, spoke against Klein ISD's mask mandate at the April 12 school board meeting. (Andy Li/Community Impact Newspaper)

Priscilla Lashley, a KISD parent, spoke against Klein ISD's mask mandate at the April 12 school board meeting. (Andy Li/Community Impact Newspaper)

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include more context from Klein ISD’s April 12 board of trustees meeting. It includes an emailed statement from the district as well as additional comments from parents who, at the meeting, voiced their opposition to the district’s mask policy. The article has also been updated to clarify, that in her comments April 12, Superintendent Jenny McGown was not referencing public comments from community members but instead speaking generally about the board.

Maskless parents decried the Klein ISD mask mandate as taking their rights as parents away. At the KISD board of trustees’ April 12 meeting, a group of nine parents and citizens criticized the ongoing mask mandate for students and staff.

In a March 9 press release, KISD stated masks will be required for the remainder of the 2020-21 school year following statements from Gov. Greg Abbott and the Texas Education Agency. KISD’s mask policy mirrors that of most other local school districts that chose to extend the mask requirement through the end of the school year, including Spring, Cy-Fair, Tomball, Conroe, Aldine, Crosby and Sheldon ISDs.

The community members said their own children have suffered emotionally, developmentally and academically during the pandemic and said the masks exacerbated the effects.

"There was very little risk of them [students] spreading infection," KISD parent Jennifer Martin said. "They thrive on interaction with their teachers and their fellow classmates."

Meanwhile, KISD parent Jeff Davies suggested the district make masks optional, not required.

"Don't make it that you can't wear masks, just that if you want to [wear it], do it," Davies said during the meeting. "But we're not going to tell you that we have to."

Several parents said their students saw teachers and staff not wearing masks every day, and one referenced a recent event where Superintendent Jenny McGown was photographed not wearing a mask.

“Everyone should have the right to make their own choices, and I support being able to make your own choices, but I don't support any hypocrisy,” Priscilla Lashley, a KISD parent, said during the meeting.

The board did not discuss the face mask policy during the April 12 meeting. However, KISD officials provided an emailed statement about its health and safety protocols on April 13.

“Our COVID-19 safety protocols have made it possible for Klein ISD to keep all campuses open, our extracurricular programs competing and representing our schools, and minimized the number of students and staff being required to quarantine at home whenever there is a positive COVID-19 case,” the district's statement read. “With the end of the school year in sight, we will continue to focus on educating our students, maintaining a safe teaching and learning environment, and securing opportunities for our employees to get vaccinated now that all educators are eligible for the vaccine.”

In her closing statements at the meeting, McGown thanked the board of trustees for their commitment to the KISD community.

“I appreciate the way that you [the board of trustees] all model for our community what it looks like to have healthy debate, what it’s like for us to be respectful and what it looks like to continue to assume positive intent," she said.

By Andy Li
Originally from Boone, North Carolina, Andy Li is a graduate of East Carolina University with degrees in Communication with a concentration in Journalism and Political Science. While in school, he worked as a performing arts reporter, news, arts and copy editor and a columnist at the campus newspaper, The East Carolinian. He also had the privilege to work with NPR’s Next Generation Radio, a project for student journalists exploring radio news. Moving to Houston in May 2019, he now works as the reporter for the Conroe/Montgomery edition of Community Impact Newspaper.


Cy-Fair ISD is planning to offer a virtual learning program for the 2021-22 school year. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Cy-Fair ISD proposes virtual learning program for 2021-22 pending legislative approval

District officials said the proposed Cy-Fair ISD Virtual School will launch in 2021-22, pending the approval of certain legislation.

Pfizer vaccines could become available to kids 12 and up as soon as next week. (Courtesy Adobe Stock/Graphic by Justin Howell/Community Impact Newspaper)
FDA expands Pfizer vaccine authorization to children ages 12 to 15 years old

This is the first time people under the age of 16 have been granted access to a coronavirus vaccine.

The deadline is May 17 for residents to protest their appraised property values set by the Harris County Appraisal District earlier this year, and officials are encouraging protesters to take online options into account. (Courtesy Pexels)
Harris County residents have until May 17 to protest property values

High demand for residential properties along with a shrinking inventory of homes translated into a roughly 8%-10% increase in residential values on average across the county this year

Cy-Fair ISD recently added 266 propane buses to its total fleet. Funded by the 2019 bond package, the buses account for approximately 30% of the district’s total fleet and provide cleaner emissions. (Courtesy Cy-Fair ISD)
Cy-Fair ISD's 2019 bond program funds new propane buses to replace diesel vehicles

Propane buses now account for about 30% of the district's entire fleet.

ExxonMobil moved employees from its Springwoods Village campus to a Hughes Landing to cure a default on a Montgomery County tax abatement. (Courtesy ExxonMobil)
ExxonMobil resolves tax abatement default; Home Depot distribution center taking over superfund site; and more top Houston-area news

Read the most popular business and community news from the past week from the Houston area.

The University of St. Thomas is a private Catholic college in Houston. It also has a microcampus in downtown Conroe. (Emma Whalen/Community Impact Newspaper)
University of St. Thomas offering free tuition to first 500 students who apply

The online degrees are in the following fields: cybersecurity, network technology, electronic technology, general business, and alcohol and drug dependency counseling.

Founded by Jennifer Park in 2019, Moving Waters aims to improve the quality of life for homeless individuals across the Greater Houston area by providing mobile shower and hygiene stations through partnerships with other assistance organizations. (Courtesy Moving Waters)
Moving Waters to bring weekly mobile showers, hygiene stations to Northwest Assistance Ministries beginning May 10

Beginning May 10, mobile showers and hygiene stations will be available to those in need every Monday at Northwest Assistance Ministries, through a new partnership with Houston-based nonprofit Moving Waters.

Harris County Emergency Services District No. 11 has begun construction on the first of three phases for its new 43-acre, state-of-the-art campus located in Spring, according to a May 7 news release. (Courtesy Cypress Creek EMS)
Harris County Emergency Services District No. 11 begins construction on new 43-acre campus

The campus will house ESD No. 11's new ambulance service, which is scheduled to launch Sept. 4 when the district's contract with current service provider, Cypress Creek Emergency Medical Services, expires.

The Texas Department of State Health Services projects a significant shortage of nurses by 2032. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Q&A: Why Texas faces a growing nursing shortage and what can be done to address it

In 2018, the state health department estimated about 11% of the demand for nurses was not able to be met, and that number is expected to rise to 16.3% by 2032.

Evolve Alchemy moved less than a mile from its former location on FM 2920 and opened in a new, larger space at 3624 FM 2920, Ste. 1, Spring, on May 5. (Courtesy Evolve Alchemy)
Evolve Alchemy moves to larger space on FM 2920 in Spring

The business sells intention and herbal candles, crystals and stones, incense, jewelry, smudge and other items used in meditation practice and energy work.