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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.

K.J. Ferrell

A middle school student, K.J. Ferrell, spoke to the board.

“Us kids need your help. Do you want to know why I was unenrolled from my in-person classes two days ago? Me, too,” she said. “I had the best teachers and paraprofessionals.”

“Please acknowledge your community’s authority to make their own health choices. Please use COVID money in ways that really help. Why are you buying face shields and forcing kids to either wear them or go in isolation rooms?” she asked, drawing applause from the audience. “The CDC and the Virginia Department of Health say that they are not recommended and not necessary. Seriously, why are you letting the superintendent go against the CDC recommendation?”

“And why did the superintendent unenroll me and many others against our parents’ choice? My medical exemption to not wear a face covering was accepted last year and this year. Then the new superintendent made a bunch of chaotic changes. Now he says that my doctor’s note doesn’t matter,” she claimed. “He told hundreds of families that we had sign his medical release form, giving them permission to talk to all of my doctors, look at my medical records, and allow strangers to treat me medically. Please protect my privacy and dignity. He required hundreds of others to document personal details about their faith, to name their religious leaders to interview them.”

“Since my parents wouldn’t sign those forms, he made our principals put us in isolation rooms starting last week on Monday,” the youth alleged. “They only let us move for 10 minutes, and we had to work on our screens for seven hours. My principal marked us absent without telling teachers, so they couldn’t send us materials.

“The health order said that everyone could be in P.E., band, and lunch unmasked, but neither my jailmates nor I were allowed to be with them,” she accused. “My brother was isolated in a teeny room with no other kids. No one was allowed to teach him. There are people who are locked outside who want to expose the mistreatment of their children. Mr. Johnson, why won’t you let them speak?”

“If you are one of the four who voted against parent choice, would you please raise your hand to complete the superintendent’s release form so that the town could review your doctors, counselors and religious leaders and so they can treat you?” the student said. “It sounds silly, doesn’t it? If you choose not to fill out the superintendent’s form, why would you allow him to kick me out of my classes when my parents made the same exact choice?”

The audience erupted into applause when she concluded.

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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