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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.

Daniel Crawley

Daniel Crawley, who has two children in elementary school was emotional and crying as he spoke.

“My wife and I are hear tonight representing them — and our authority over them, not yours,” he said. “It’s our job to chose what’s best for them, not yours.”

His 11-year-old son was diagnosed with autism and ADHD at age 3.

“He has struggled to communicate with his friends, associate with his peers and interact with the children that are of his age,” he said.

The child works with specialists as per his Individualized Education Plan (IEP).

“He has sensory impairments that make it difficult for him to wear a mask,” he said.

Recently the parents held an IEP meeting; they were informed “the only accommodation if he wasn’t able to wear a mask would be to socially isolate him from his peers.”

“You can see I’m emotional … I am upset,” he admitted. “I’m talking about my kid. You don’t mess with my kid.”

Crawley told the board, “I went to your website, and these are your words, your mission statement. ‘To prepare our students to be responsible citizens of our community and the world.’ Noble words. How is isolating my son and the rest of these children from their peers, from their ability to receive a free and fair education, preparing them for the future?”

The masks are “fear driven, and you’re more afraid of a lawsuit … than you are willing to do the right thing,” he charged amidst loud applause from the audience.

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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