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Pasco County Parents Protest: 'We Need Masks To Be Required'

More Pasco County parents are speaking out about masks mandates. Two weeks ago, we told you Pasco County parents were becoming frustrated with the district over un-answered questions. Now, parents are protesting and the board is asking for patience.

Minutes before and during Tuesday's school board meeting, protesting parents were loud and clear in favor of a mask mandate as they drove up and down the roads near the building where board meetings take place, honking their horns with signs attached to their doors in favor of mask mandates.

"Our Facebook group has been calling and emailing with no response, so we're here today to let them know we want change," said one parent.

Dozens of mobile protesters took to the streets in attempt to get Pasco County school officials to hear them out.

"My name is Alicia Zilay. I'm the parent of two Pasco County school kids. I have a middle-schooler and a high-schooler. My mom's a retired Pasco County teacher," said Alicia Zilay, Pasco County Schools parent. A graduate of Pasco County schools herself, Alicia Zilay helped organize the protest during the district's board meeting.

"I'm here today because I think that we need masks to be required in Pasco Schools because the numbers are very high," said Zilay. Although a mask mandate discussion wasn't on the agenda for Tuesday, school board officials addressed it.

"We didn't plan on starting our school year this way, but I'm so grateful for the teamwork that I'm seeing. Parents in the community, I am asking that you show grace and compassion," said Megan Harding, Pasco County School Board Member. "Please be kind when you're calling your child's school or when you are talking to the front office. Please be kind when you're sending your child's principal or teacher and email. They are showing up every day to offer the world class education that your child deserves."

See Also: Pasco Co. Parent is 'Super Frustrated' With School District

Back in August, a judge's ruling declared Governor Ron DeSantis' ban on mask mandates in schools as unconstitutional, and it was over-turned. Now, some form of mask mandate exists in over a dozen schools districts across the state. Pasco County schools currently does not mandate masks.

"Two weeks ago, I had a petition with 1,000 signatures and I'm back today with 2,000 signatures to show them the support that's out there in the community for masking," said Zilay. But the school board is asking parents for patience as they continue to navigate the school year.

"People jumping on those who are showing up for work every day is highly inappropriate and not conducive to good education… so, with that…" said Pasco County School Board Chairman Allen Altman as a few people began to clap in the crowd.

The next Pasco County board meeting is scheduled for September 14th.

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