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Numerous parents as well as a couple of students and some citizens blasted Bedford County Public Schools on various topics, including how unmasked students with exemptions are allegedly isolated, intimidated and treated like prisoners.

They let the board know how they felt at Bedford County Public Schools’ board meeting Thursday.

The following is only one of many people who spoke at the board meeting. See the Sept. 15 issue of the Smith Mountain Eagle newspaper for much more.

Kayla Parker

Kayla Parker, a 10th grader in the district, spoke about her experiences and how she was treated.

On Monday, Aug. 30, she allegedly was sent to an isolation room by the principal. The principal took the students into a storage room one by one and allegedly gave them an ultimatum of wearing a face covering in the hallways or being left in isolation and working on their own. She remarked that she was uncomfortable being taken to a room alone with him, and that her peers felt the same way.

Three students, including Parker, did not take the deal and were taken to the main office “so he could take us into his personal office one by one again so we could discuss our curricular options.”

“He questioned me once again about what I wanted to do, and I told him I wanted to call my mom,” she said. “He called her, and they talked, and my mom brought me home.”

She learned that seven other students allegedly joined the isolation group.

“I also found out there were other isolation rooms throughout the building so we wouldn’t be together (and stand strong together),” she said.

The next day, she returned to school, and because she wouldn’t wear a mask, she was sent to an isolation room.

“Twelve of us were put into one of the smallest rooms (in the school),” she alleged. “Throughout the day, we were made to feel like we were less than people and that we were a disease. Throughout the day, the vice principal stood in front of the window on the door to the room. If anyone asked who was in the room, she would say these are just some students who are trying to finish their work, completely dodging that they were putting us into isolation and not getting proper instruction from our teachers. My grades dropped from an A to a C in one day because I was not getting proper instruction, and the teachers weren’t grading my work correctly.”

Teachers had to send work because the students allegedly weren’t allowed to leave the room except to go to the restroom only after bell changes.

She allegedly asked her band teacher what she could do to continue playing. The vice principal allegedly said that she was not allowed to go back to class, but that she could play in the band concerts — which made zero sense to her.

When Chairman Jason Johnson cut her off due to time, upset audience members wanted her to finish, but the chairman started threatening to clear the room again.

Find out more in the upcoming issue of the Smith Mountain Eagle newspaper. If subscribed, view the e-edition version of the article this upcoming Wednesday at www.smithmountaineagle.com/eedition. If not subscribed, pick up a print edition or subscribe at www.smithmountaineagle.com/subscriber_services.

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