School Outlines Disciplinary Ramifications for Students’ Mask Negligence

Maria Lemos, Staff Writer

Freshman Eliza Taylor sighs as she looks to her right. She eyes one more student who chooses to not properly wear his mask in her class. 

One more student who can put her family at risk.  

As of Monday, the Fulton County School district mandated masks once again, which is nothing new to students. 

But in only one transition between classes, over 63 students were counted not wearing their mask properly, meaning it is below their noses or not even covering half of their faces.   

Consequences have been set in place for students neglecting this mandate.

“The rule has been, ‘Teachers, if you are having to constantly remind the exact same student multiple times, you need to write that up as a discipline referral’,” said Principal Ashley Agans.  

Some consequences have been given out, but students say they witness little referrals being handed out when there should have been some disciplinary action.

“In one of my classes, there’s this one kid who consistently yanks their mask down, and the teacher has constantly told them to pull it up,” said freshman Max Draughn. “They still haven’t gotten a referral.”  

It’s not that students want their classmates to get reprimanded, Draughn and Taylor said; it is a simple fact many students have family members who are more vulnerable to COVID-19.  

The school is notified of more positive cases every week.

“The bottom line is, I’ve got three new reports [Thursday] morning from kids just from two days ago. So, it’s a thing,” said Agans.

Assistant Principal Darius Maize said since the beginning of the week, only a few referrals have been made.  

It’s understandable if student’s masks are slipping, said Agans and Maize, but there are plenty of options to get a new one.  

“We have plenty of masks. We’ve got paper masks; we’ve got fabric masks. We will make sure you have what you need,” said Agans.  

When there are 63 or more students in one hall who are not wearing their masks properly, Agans said the chances of all their masks slipping are low. 

“Every class I teach, there’s always one or two students who have a problem with keeping their mask above their nose,” said biology teacher Anubha Singh. “It’s not a question about masks; it’s a question about insubordination and undermining our authority.” 

Fulton County Schools plans for its buildings to be mask-optional by Jan. 21 depending on the number of cases.  

“Honestly, if we all just wear our masks like we’re supposed to, things will get better,” said Taylor, who shared she has family at risk. “It only takes an ounce of kindness.”