Students in NH Town Who Don't Comply With Mask Requirements Face Penalties

Students in Newmarket, New Hampshire, who do not wear masks properly in school will first be given a verbal warning, then a detention, and then an in-school suspension for subsequent offenses

Students in Newmarket, New Hampshire, will now face consequences if they don't wear their masks the right way.

The indoor mask mandate has been in effect since the beginning of the school year, but now, students will be penalized if they don't comply.



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Newmarket mom Erica Hiera was not happy when she got an email over the weekend from her 12-year-old daughter's principal, David Dalton.

Dalton wrote that starting this week, students who don't comply with the mask requirement will first be given a verbal warning, then a detention, and then an in-school suspension for any subsequent offenses.

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"It just seems like they're trying to scare them into compliance," Hiera argued.

Hiera says her family has complied with everything up until now, but that they don't believe masks work — despite the consensus of the medical community and public health officials that facial coverings help curb the transmission of COVID-19. She says her family feels the new disciplinary plan is extreme.

"If she needs to put her mask down to take a breath of fresh air, she's going to do it, and she has my permission to do that," Hiera said. "She won't be in trouble with mom and dad, and that's all that matters."

In its most recent guidance, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted that N95 and KN95 masks offer the best protection against COVID-19.

"Why would you not want to follow it? Like, seriously?" asked Venus Dempsey, who has two teenagers at the high school. "Why would you not want to protect your classmates and families?"

She says she's using this as another teaching moment for her teenagers.

"In life, there are consequences for things," Dempsey added.

Superintendent Susan Givens says the mandate and consequences are not about punishing the students, but protecting them.

"I don't think following progressive disciplinary interventions is something the school board would think is out of bounds with trying to keep kids safe," Givens said. "I think if a student is struggling and needs additional support, we provide that in an in-school setting, in a therapeutic way."

Parents are keeping a close eye on two bills in the State Senate that, if passed, would make mandates like this one illegal.

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