WATCH: Georgia School Board Members Refuse to Wear Masks at Hearing, in Defiance of the Dying Wish of a Teacher Who Died from Covid
Cobb County teacher Patrick Key, who was vocally adamant about the importance of mask wearing, died of the coronavirus on Christmas Day — yet several school board members still refused to wear masks to honor their colleague’s dying wish.
“Patrick felt passionate about wearing masks during the pandemic,” read Key’s obituary. “In lieu of flowers, please buy and wear a mask to protect others and yourself in honor of him.”
While all members honored Key with silence, and most were already wearing masks, at least three, including Superintendent Chris Ragsdale, refused to honor Key’s last request.
While addressing the board, School district employee Jennifer Susko asked the members to put their masks on “as a tribute to this teacher who did everything you asked of him, even teaching through a pandemic.”
WXIA’s Brendan Keefe took to Twitter to share the meeting’s central moment, while footage from the entire meeting is available in the Cobb County School District’s footage of Board of Education meetings:
A teacher’s dying wish was for people to wear masks during the pandemic. 3 Cobb County, GA educators have died during COVID. At a school board meeting Thursday, 2 board members & the superintendent refused to wear masks even during a moment of silence. A staff member responds: pic.twitter.com/QR75zdzQXP
— Brendan Keefe (@BrendanKeefe) January 22, 2021
“I would like the record to reflect that some of you did not wear a mask, the final request of a Cobb teacher who died. Your actions in these two minutes have spoken louder than words,” Susko said after the moment of silence. “We see where your priorities are. Please know that many of us reject your false gratitude for staff since we seem disposable to many of you.”
The board members’ refusal to wear masks prompted Key’s widow Priscella to condemn the inaction on Facebook, writing, “I have many feelings but no socially appropriate words to describe them.”
Three teachers in Cobb County — Key, Dana Johnson, a teacher at Kemp Elementary School, and Cynthia Lindsey, a paraprofessional at Sedalia Park Elementary School — have recently lost lives due to the coronavirus pandemic, while more than 530 K-12 teachers died of Covid-19 last year, according to the American Federation of Teachers and The Washington Post.
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