“Nobody locks my kid in a g*****n library!” the mother shouted in the video, posted on social media by the channel Libs of Tik Tok. “This is not a detention camp, this is an educational facility!”
The video quickly sparked a firestorm on social media as commenters debated whether it was appropriate for the school to separate and move maskless students into the library.
In a subsequent tweet, Libs of Tik Tok identified the district where the incident allegedly took place as Manhasset Union Free School District. Manhasset is a hamlet on the North Shore of Long Island, about a 20-minute drive from Queens, New York. Soon after the tweet was posted, the district disabled comments and eventually deleted its Twitter account.
As the incident played out, New York state was in the midst of a legal back-and-forth over Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul’s mask mandate. On Monday, a Nassau County judge struck down the governor’s mask mandate. However, just one day later, another judge granted the state an “interim stay” on the matter, keeping in place the mask mandate until the end of the week.
The incident evidently caused enough of a stir to attract law enforcement. A WNBC-TV reporter said that Nassau Police showed up at the school following the students’ refusal. The police, however, said students were not forced to remain at school.
TheBlaze was able to reach the district for comment and confirm that district officials had, in fact, moved a handful of students into the library after they refused to wear masks. Though the district maintained that students were only forced to remain in the library if they chose to remain at school.
In a statement, Acting Superintendent of Schools Dr. Gaurav Passi blamed the incident, in part, on the confusion surrounding whether the mask mandate in New York had been struck down or not.
“We share the community’s frustration with the conflicting messages from governing authorities and their legal counsel. It is understandable that there was great confusion today around the mask mandate,” Passi said, adding that “the vast majority of students at all three of our schools complied today with the District’s request to wear masks.”
He went on to say that “less than a dozen students arrived at the Secondary School without masks and were provided with masks by our staff” but “a handful of students declined to wear masks and were asked to wait in the library while Building and District administrators considered the matter.”
“We met with the parents who had gathered at the Secondary School to ask for their understanding, patience, and cooperation while the District awaited clarifying guidance from the State,” Passi continued.
“Given the confusion, we advised students and their parents that we would make the library available today for students who did not want to wear a mask. Several students at their option chose to remain in the library for the day, where they engaged in remote instruction for their classes,” he added.
Manhasset UFSD was far from the only district in the state to experience confusion over the court orders.
At this point, it remains unclear whether the mask mandate will remain in place going forward.