SALT LAKE CITY – Thousands of Utahns have signed a petition demanding masks be a choice in Utah schools following the governor’s mandate stating face coverings would be required in all K-12 schools.
“In the past two days, 3,420 signatures,” Britney Lindsey said as she read the current numbers on an online petition she created.
“One minute ago Rosa signed it, five minutes ago Emily signed it,” she continued.
Watching the signatures stack up, Britney feels empowered and supported.
“It kind of like lights your fire, it’s like, 'Yes, other people do feel this way and there are other parents who are feeling the same things,'” she continued.
Three days ago, she created an online petition, stating masks in Utah schools should be a choice, not a mandate.
“It’s just really unjust,” Britney said. “I think that this is just taking away the freedoms of us as parents, saying what should be done for our kids.”
Britney said she saw the need for change following a press conference last week with Gov. Gary Herbert, mandating masks be worn by all students, faculty, staff and visitors in all public K-12 schools and charter schools statewide.
The governor’s decision came just days after he approved an addendum from the Utah State Board of Education (USBE), which was created in partnership with area health leaders, to clearly outline the requirements all Local Education agencies (LEA) must meet in order to reopen fall 2020. Within the addendum, masks were recommended, but not required.
“My heart instantly sunk,” Britney said. “When I saw that [Gov. Herbert] mandated the masks, it just made me so sad and angry.”
That’s when Britney decided to start a petition.
In just 24 hours, more than 6,000 people signed it before it was ultimately taken down by the platform for "violating community guidelines."
Britney said the petition was never intended to be a deciding factor as to whether or not masks are right – but to ensure parents can continue to make decisions on behalf of their children.
So, after seeing the initial support for her self-acknowledged "unpopular opinion," Britney used the same text and created a new petition on a different platform. This time, it gained nearly 4,000 signatures in two days.
“I’m just seeing people be shut down right and left when they’re trying to make this a choice. The government’s not listening. No one’s listening,” she continued.
“I still think it’s good to take precautions, but I don’t think that this is fair,” Britney said. “I don’t think that this is giving people a freedom that they deserve.”
Britney plans to send the signatures from both petitions to the governor’s office prior to the 2020 school year, to hopefully alter the mask mandate – otherwise, she is prepared to homeschool her children until masks are no longer required in schools.
Britney’s petition can be found HERE.