Davenport parents were not happy on Monday as students were segregated based on masking at Walcott, an elementary and intermediate school in the district. One parent told The Iowa Standard they saw “easily” 100 junior high students standing outside when she dropped her students off a couple of minutes late.
On the other side of the school, she said there were about 50 students outside and half had masks.
She found out through Facebook pages that unmasked students were moved into a library. The kids were unable to talk and told to sit there and be quiet.
“It was like detention,” the parent said. “If they chose not to go to class with a mask, they’d have to stay in the library all day if a parent was not able to come pick them up. Either way, they were told it would be counted as an absence. They were not able to do any of their school work. The kids were told they could not use their cell phones.”
One parent told The Iowa Standard it was an hour when the principal of the school called to tell her that her kids had respectfully declined the mask and they would not be allowed to attend class. If they stayed, it would basically be like an in-school suspension.
According to others, at West High School in Davenport there were “several” security guards in the hallways doing the same thing. Students were contained in a room. At West, students were reportedly told if they get sent home three times without masks they’ll be suspended. One student allegedly made it through a couple of blocks before a teacher had a problem with her not wearing a mask and sent her to the office.
“It’s interesting because it just depends on which school and even then which teachers you have,” one parent told The Iowa Standard. “Some of these teachers aren’t even wearing masks themselves or requiring it.”
As for the principal at Walcott, the parent said he was polite and sounded like he was just doing what those above him had told him to do. She asked the principal about religious exemptions and the principal said he didn’t know how the district would handle those. She asked if the school was willing to sign a liability form since it is forcing her child to wear a medical device on the face that the family doesn’t consent to and again he said he wasn’t sure what the district’s policy was.
“There is no consistency,” the parent said. “For the most part it seems like they’re putting them all into a room.”
The Iowa Standard called the Davenport School District for comment. We asked if the schools are acting on their own or if there is a district policy.
“I haven’t been made aware of any procedure that any one school should be following,” we were told.
We then called Walcott at 3:41 p.m. The secretary said we would have to talk to the principal about the situation, but he was still in the library with those students. The students, we were told, had been there all day.
Students at West reported people going to each class and pulling kids out if they weren’t wearing masks.
Eric Johnson, the principal at Williams Jr. High, wrote an email to a parent about a student being offered a maks and refusing to wear it. The email said the parent and the student were notified she would “not be allowed to enter the building without a mask.”
“At this time, her mom requested that she walk home,” the email said. “Should she choose to wear a mask, she will be allowed to attend class immediately.”
Davenport superintendent T.J. Schneckloth told parents children who do not wear masks will be recorded as an excused absence.