School mask mandate prompts Bloomington protest

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BLOOMINGTON (WEEK) — Governor J.B. Pritzker said masks are required in schools, but a group of Twin City parents said it should be a choice left up to them.

Protesters shouted, “Unmask our kids,” outside the McLean County Health Department Friday afternoon.

They said parents should have the ability to decide if their children should wear a mask.

“We take risks everyday and parents need the freedom to choose their own risk and their own consequences,” said protester, Linda Walston.

Walston said she was fighting for the children and protecting them from government overreach.

“It shouldn’t be that way in America that you have to threaten people to comply with what you have decided is the right thing to do,” said Walston.

Others, like Anntoinetta Rountree, said the only thing kids needed protection from, was COVID-19.

“I am disgusted by it,” said Rountree.

Rountree was Downtown Bloomington Friday, when she saw the signs and heard the chants.

She wished people masked up to prevent the spread of the disease.

“I went to two funerals at one time, it’s killing people,” said Rountree.

Speakers at the protest claimed the health department was lying about COVID-19 case numbers and kids were not dying from the virus. They also spoke against the idea of a vaccine mandate.

“I think it’s time to take a stand and stand up for what your concerns are, for what you want for your children,” said Walston.

Walston said this protest was just the beginning in their fight against masking.

“I don’t think that it’s going to go away,” said Walston.

The McLean County Health Department follows the CDC guidelines which says, the best way to stop the spread of COVID-19 is by social distancing in crowds, wearing a face mask and getting vaccinated.

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