Thursday, June 13, 2024

NC Teacher Put on Unpaid Leave for Refusing to Wear Mask

'I just want to adhere to my God-given rights...'

An English teacher in North Carolina has been placed on nine weeks of unpaid leave for her principled refusal to wear a facemask, and she does not plan to back down, according to WRAL.

Last week, Aurora Preston went to the teacher preparation day at South Johnston High School without a mask.

When the school’s principal saw her in the hallway, the consequences for Preston’s belief in free breathing immediately began.

“The principal walked by and said I need to wear a mask,” Preston said. “I chuckled because I knew I wasn’t going to, and I said, ‘Perhaps we should talk about it.'”

The principal confined Preston to her classroom while she contacted the school district for instructions. Three hours later, the principal returned and told Preston to pack her bags.

The Johnston County Board of Education had voted 4-3 on Aug. 10 to mandate that all students, faculty and staff wear facemasks, WRAL reported.

That vote marked a reversal from its previous stance that students and employees could wear facemasks at their own discretion.

Preston opposes the mandatory masking policy.

“I feel like they’re overstepping their bounds in trying to dictate things that really have nothing to do with education,” she said on Tuesday.

Preston said the school did not know how to respond to her free thinking.

“Nobody had any answers. Nobody knows what to do with me,” she said. “I have the right to choose whether or not I comply. … I’m not breaking the law. I’m not telling others to break the law. I just want to adhere to my God-given rights.”

The school board said that masks “cut down” on viral transmission, but numerous studies support Preston’s position that masks do not reduce the spread of respiratory illnesses.

“It’s not about the mask, it’s about the control factor, because, after the masks are done, then what? Then it’s about the vaccines,” she said.

Preston has nine weeks of unpaid leave to decide whether to comply with the district’s mask mandate or lose her job.

She cannot teach online because the school district requires teachers to be in their classrooms and wear masks at their computers.

“I’m choosing not to wear a mask for my own beliefs,” Preston said. “You’re choosing to wear a masks for your own beliefs. We still live in a country where those rights are given.”

She has begun to search for teaching jobs in school districts that give employees and staff the freedom to breathe.

“I feel like it’s punishment. It’s punishment for not complying,” she said. “You have to stand up for what you believe in.”

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