Parent: Massapequa HS threat to athletes stopped student walkout against mask mandates
Students, parents and teachers across the country, including on Long Island were expected to participate in a planned walkout over mask mandates in schools.
Only one student walked out at 10 a.m. at Massapequa High School, and one parent says it’s because of school officials’ threat of consequences to athletes.
Massapequa resident Eileen Aivaliotis says people were supposed to be able to exercise their freedom of expression to come out and speak against mask mandates and vaccination mandates.
“Unfortunately, there’s been a coercive action in school where kids who have an interest in sports, like my daughter, are being threatened to be removed from those programs,” Aivaliotis says.
The Massapequa school district released a statement prior to the planned protest, saying: “An unauthorized exit from the building will be viewed as an infraction to our code of conduct and will result in consequences as outlined in the code. This includes jeopardizing a fall athlete’s eligibility to participate as a Massapequa team member.”
Junior Sophia Aivaliotis says the district’s policy wasn’t fair to students who wanted to speak out.
“When they hold something over your head, you’re going to lose a lot of people,” Sophia Aivaliotis says. “You’re not going to risk your full future and college for wearing a mask.”
Walkouts against mask mandates were also planned at West Islip and Wantagh schools.