Another New York City school principal has come under scrutiny after pressuring children to wear face coverings despite the state lifting the school mask mandate prompting NY City Mayor Eric Adams to blast the principal’s actions as administrative “bullying.”
New York City Hall made masks optional in schools beginning March 7.
Priscilla Chan, principal at the Brooklyn Collaborative Studies, sent a letter home to parents over the past weekend stating, “As of Mon 3/7, masks are no longer mandatory in DOE school buildings for students in Grades K-12. We strongly recommend that students and staff continue to wear masks in school to keep everyone safe.”
“Parents said the directive undermined their ability to make a decision for their children on the fraught issue,” the New York Post reported.
One parent told the New York Post, “Tell me, what student is going to wear a mask after the head of their school tells them not to? Is that realistic? Of course not. This is an abuse of power and they know exactly what they’re doing.”
Mayor Adams appeared to echo the parents’ concerns following another incident where teachers at a top Manhattan high school pressured students to stay masked. Brady Smith, the principle for Beacon High School in Manhattan reportedly sought to undermine the mayor’s decision to end the school mask mandate and told his students “While teachers cannot mandate a mask in their classroom, they may request that students wear one as many of us have vulnerable loved ones at home,” the New York Post reported.
Numerous Beacon students reportedly told the New York Post that they were pressured by school staff to continue to keep their faces covered.
One senior told the New York Post, “My history teacher asked us to please keep wearing our masks. I don’t think it’s right, the social pressure he was creating.”
At the time Adam’s said, “We’re not going to bully students” in response to a question regarding Beacon allowing teachers to decide whether or not students should remain masked.
Adam’s stressed that while children and families are free to wear masks should they choose to, teachers and administrators should stay out of that decision making process.
“There are thousands of teachers, and if each one wants to have their own policy — that cannot happen in our school system,” Adams said.
On Monday a DOE spokesman said, “The decision to wear or not wear a face covering is now entirely up to students, parents and staff; those decisions should be respected and those criticizing others for their decisions should be counseled to respect the choices of others.”