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accountability

Students Claim Suspensions for Not Wearing Masks; Goes Against State Disciplinary Guidance

Mohammed Choudhury speaks against student suspensions during the Administrative, Executive and Legislative Review Joint Committee hearing on September 14th.

Reports of students being suspended for violating the new statewide mask mandate surfaced across several Carroll County Public Schools, going against state superintendent Mohammed Choudhury’s guidance to not suspend students for mask violations.

The suspensions were reported from students at Westminster and Manchester Valley High Schools and occurred during statewide protests organized by parents and students who are against the mandate that went into effect on September 15th.  

Other reports were received from parents that confirmed students were threatened with suspension for repeat violations. An email received from the principal at North Carroll Middle School confirmed suspensions were part of the disciplinary plan.

The events followed a state committee hearing the day prior, where delegates voted for the statewide mask mandate 10-7 along party lines.   When asked by Delegate Stephen Hershey whether students could be suspended for not wearing masks, the superintendent replied “No, as a state superintendent of schools, I would think that’s a backwards practice to suspend students to resolve that.” 

Disciplinary actions varied from sending students to “support rooms” to 5-day suspensions.  Many parents complained that the enforcement measures were inconsistent across schools.

There were no reports of violence or confrontation on school campuses from the protest.  Some students protested in school by not complying with the mandate, while most protested by reporting absent.