Skip to main content
You are the owner of this article.
You have permission to edit this article.
alert top story

Watch now: Parents confront Mount Zion school board over masks; new member named

  • 0


MOUNT ZION – The Mount Zion school board on Tuesday named Kent Newton to fill the vacancy left by the resignation of Dave Brandon last month.

Newton has two students in Mount Zion High School. He was one of three candidates who applied to fill the vacancy.

“I want to do what I can to help out,” he said.

Brandon said he resigned because he no longer has a student in the schools.

“I feel strongly that school board members shouldn’t be making decisions that will not impact them or any of their family members,” Brandon said. “My youngest son graduated in May 2021 and I resigned soon thereafter.”

Newton will serve the remainder of Brandon's term, until the next board election in April 2023.

Kent Newton

Kent Newton was named to the vacancy on the Mount Zion Board of Education on Tuesday. 

In other business, the board heard from two district parents who object to mask and quarantine mandates because they say the Illinois State Board of Education is overstepping its authority by making those mandates.

Heather Mason, whose three children were the fourth generation of her family to attend Mount Zion schools – she did, her mother did and her grandfather did – has removed her children from the district and is sending them to a parochial school she declined to name.

“You're enforcing mandates with no due process,” she said.

Her children, she said, love their new school and while it's expensive, it's worth it because they are not forced to wear masks.

She loves the Mount Zion school district, she said, and would prefer for her kids to continue attending those schools. That's why she's so passionate about it, she added.

“You already have local control,” she said. “We the people of Mount Zion already have control. Be bold and be brave.”

Regan Deering had a similar message for the board. Recent court decisions have defined masks as a medical device.

“The governor's order violates an individual's rights to refuse medical treatment,” she said. “Citizens won't be coerced into giving up their medical freedom.”

Superintendent Travis Roundcount said recently updated guidance, received last week, gives schools three options for students and staff who have tested positive. They have to stay out of school for 10 days minimum, longer if they show symptoms.

The second option is if someone is identified as a close contact and is asymptomatic, they can take a COVID test on the sixth day and return as soon as the seventh day if the test is negative.

The third option, he said, is complicated. Someone identified as a close contact and who is asymptomatic can remain at school and take tests the first, third, fifth and seventh days, if both a positive case and the close contacts were masked.

The language is still in a draft stage and will need to be clarified, Roundcount said, and he hopes to have clear guidelines out to families by the end of this week.

Board President Jeffrey Sams said he wanted to thank the parents who spoke.

“We are discussing it,” he said. “We've had counsel with our legal department and we're trying to do our best, and I appreciate your commitment to get this state turned around. You are being heard.”

Contact Valerie Wells at (217) 421-7982. Follow her on Twitter: @modgirlreporter


Want to see more like this?

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.


News Alerts

Breaking News