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Tyler ISD school board votes against mask mandate for district

The Board voted 5-2 in opposition of a mask mandate.

TYLER, Texas — It was a packed room at Tyler ISD's school board meeting to discuss a mask mandate and the district's vaccine incentive for employees, but no consensus among parents' opinions.

One parent at the meeting who opposes masks said, "This is not sanitary. It is not safe."

Another countered, “Your rights end where my nose begins.”

A third parent has pre-existing medical conditions and feels like her hands are tied.

“I can't tell you to mandate masks, but everybody’s talking about it should be the parent’s choice. You’ve left me with none," she said. "If I don’t want to expose my kids because nobody around them is wearing a mask, then my only option is to withdraw them and then you really don’t get that funding do you?”

Parents were also split about employees getting an incentive to be vaccinated and offered an alternative to reward those who can’t or won’t get their shots.

“I think if you’re going to incentivize a vaccine for the school district, I would think about also incentivizing antibody testing," one said.

Among the parents who had strong opinions about masks and vaccines, there were others who didn’t take a stance at all. 

"Currently there's a huge amount of research, data, studies and information in general that all seems to conflict with itself and I believe that's where you're getting a lot of this craziness from everybody because there are two sides to this story and you have data that supports both sides."

When public participation ended, the Board of Trustees did take a stance by voting on the motion to mandate masks within their district.

The motion failed 5-2.