‘It’s conformity to the extreme’: Colorado Springs school district investigating masks being taped to student’s faces

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UPDATE: Academy District 20 sent out the following announcement to students, faculty and staff regarding their investigation into the alleged mask-taping incident.

“Academy District 20,

“Our district operates on the beliefs that people are the heart of our organization and relationships matter. Living those values means operating transparently, communicating openly, respecting truth, and being humble. That is why I want to share a challenge we faced this week.

“Since Monday, our district has been featured on the local, regional and national news related to allegations teachers were taping face masks to students’ faces.

“These are serious allegations that have charged a great deal of emotion and judgement. We cannot and should not jump to conclusions. We take these allegations seriously and are following policy and procedures to conduct an internal investigation that includes well over 100 initial and follow-up interviews. We must trust the process and respect all parties involved.

“Our district is committed to providing a safe learning and work environment where all members of the school community are treated with dignity and respect. That said, as I shared with staff earlier this week, asking, requiring, suggesting, coercing, recommending, or even joking about students adhering a mask to their face in any way other than originally designed is not condoned by our district. 

“We know this incident has caused a great deal of concern, strife, and further division across our community. We ask for your patience and grace so we may fully understand what happened. Once the district is confident that all facts surrounding the allegation are known, we are committed to implementing measures to fully address any areas of need discovered through this process.

“Be safe and be well. 

“Tom Gregory 
Superintendent 
Academy District 20″

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Parents are demanding answers following allegations that teachers forced middle school students in Colorado Springs to tape masks to their faces.

Academy School District 20 has said it will investigate the claims. More than 100 students and staff members are being interviewed about the situation.

A picture of a sixth-grader from Chinook Trail Middle School with a mask taped to her face made the rounds on social media over the weekend. The child’s mother said she posted the picture to find out if other parents were aware of a “policy” of taped masks, and whether it had been done to other students.

“It’s a type of a restraint to me,” said Parent Stephanie M.

Stephanie told FOX21 News that on Friday she sent her daughter a picture from Timehop, an app that shares photos from years past, and said her daughter sent a selfie in return. In that picture, her daughter was wearing a mask with tape on it. Stephanie said that’s when she started asking questions.

“With the mask mandates and everything… she likes them because they hide her face ’cause of acne or whatnot. What really made me sad was that she didn’t see what was wrong,” Stephanie added.

Stephanie explained that her daughter was only given one warning to keep her mask over her nose, or she would need to tape it to her face. The sixth-grader told her mom teachers have been enforcing this new policy for weeks.

“She said the teachers were wearing the masking tape around their wrists like bracelets and whenever someone’s mask would fall down, they would tape them,” Parent Tori Skeldum said. “It’s sad that our world is coming to this and teachers would think it is OK.”

Academy School District 20 has had a mask mandate in place since September 27, because so many kids were forced to quarantine. But these parents think the district is taking it too far.

“It’s developing some sort of mentality in our children,” Stephanie explained. “Your face is you, that is how people know you. They are just doubling down on hiding you and not letting you breathe and… it’s conformity to the extreme.”

The school district said in a statement: “Currently, we do not have concrete findings. As we know more, we will keep our community apprised. We thank our community for their patience and support as we take the appropriate steps to address these serious allegations.”

The district said an email was sent out to parents on Monday about the situation.

“We’ve heard rumors that students did it on their own; we’ve heard rumors that teachers handed out the tape; we’ve heard rumors that teachers joked about it, but the students got the tape. There are so many versions of this story. That is why we need to actually talk with every single student and find out what really happened,” D-20 Chief Communications Officer Allison Cortez said.

As of Tuesday, the Chinook Trail Middle School Principal had asked to meet with Stephanie and her daughter to discuss what happened on Friday, but Stephanie told FOX21 News she declined the invitation. Instead, she is seeking advice from an attorney.

Her daughter will attend school online until the investigation is complete.

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