Sparta middle school student suspended twice for ‘defiance’ for not wearing a mask indoors

SPARTA, Wis. (WKBT) – A Sparta Meadowview Middle School student has been suspended twice for “defiance” for not complying with the district’s mask mandate.

The student served her second suspension this past Tuesday.

Each of her suspensions last one day.

Her parents say if their daughter gets suspended three more times for the same issue, she will be expelled.

So to make sure that does not happen, her mom, Misty Morales, says she is working with the school on a compromise.

“We are not against the mask policy,” Misty said. “We are pro-choice.”

Some people don’t like being told what to do.

In the case of Misty and Eric Morales’ daughter, they say masks are causing issues for her health and safety.

“She does have asthma,” Misty said. “And it takes away her right as who she is to express who she is. Her happiness, all of her emotions.”

The school board voted early last month to reinstate its mask mandate.

A statement by Superintendent Amy Van Deuren reads in part, “Since then, we have worked with many families and students to discuss the options for accommodating the student and following the policy or exploring alternative options in the district for receiving an education, including virtual instruction.”

“She’s (her daughter) not the type that can learn virtually,” Misty said.

Misty says she and her husband met with school leaders and asked them to allow their daughter to go mask-free inside school buildings.

According to the district, families are given a full explanation of available alternatives, and are fully informed of the expectations and consequences.

“We did not find a compromise,” Misty said.

The Morales’ daughter served her first suspension this past Monday for refusing to wear a mask.

But Misty says some teachers are allowing students to improperly wear masks under their noses.

Misty says they serve lunch detention, but in some cases are not punished at all.

“There does need to be some type of transparency where all students need to be taught and disciplined equally,” she said.

Misty says her daughter asked school staff to wear a mask under her nose after she completed her second suspension.

“For the most part, she will be told, ‘pull it up, pull it up,’” Misty said. “But they also stated that if she’s corrected too many times, she will have lunch detention.”

Misty and Eric believe masks should be optional.

“We’re wanting our own voices,” Misty said. “We need our school board to hear the community.”

But school leaders say they are listening to health experts, and therefore the mask mandate will remain in place.

Misty is running for the Sparta school board seat that Eric Solberg vacated last month.

She says her daughter’s suspensions were not the reason why she decided to run.

The Morales’ also have a son in Sparta High School.

They say he is complying with the mask policy so that he doesn’t miss time with the football team.

The school board has said the possibility of the mandate changing won’t happen until the vaccine is available for at least a month to younger children.

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