The same day Gwinnett County Public Schools announced it will now require masks for students and employees in all its facilities, a peaceful protest against the decision was planned.

Protestors are set to gather at 5 p.m. Friday, July 30, at the J. Alvin Wilbanks Support Center at 437 Old Peachtree Road NW in Suwanee. The protest will coincide with a special called meeting of the Gwinnett County Board of Education where the board is set to appoint Dr. Calvin J. Watts as superintendent. The board meeting is scheduled for 5 p.m. at the instructional support center.

Sheri Mitchell used a single word to sum up her reaction to the change in mask requirements: “Disappointment.”

One of the founders of the group Supporting GCPS In-person Learning, Mitchell has a student at North Gwinnett Middle School and a student going into ninth grade at North Gwinnett High School this year. She said she wasn’t surprised that the school system changed its mask requirement.

“I’m not surprised because I actually asked them in the last board meeting to be leaders and not followers because Clayton County and DeKalb County said they were both going to mask their kids, and I’ve seen what a mess they’ve become,” Mitchell said. “I feel like it should be a choice. I have a problem with them making it mandatory. Why have the vaccines if you’re going to make it mandatory?”

Mitchell, who said mandating masks is a violation of a citizen’s rights, plans to participate in Friday’s protest.

“We have to be smart and react on the facts and not react on emotions. This is just another example of reacting on emotions,” Mitchell said of the mask decision. “COVID is going to stay in our communities and we need to learn as a community to live with it without overreacting.”

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Deanna Allen has served as editor of the North Gwinnett Voice since June 2021. Effective communication and creative design are her passions.

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