Adults Should Never Laugh at Children
It would have been rude to even laugh at an adult in such a situation, but to laugh at a young person is ten times worse. What kind of person would do that?
Grady Knox, an 11th grader, was standing up in front of a roomful of people talking to the Rutherford County School Board in Tennessee explaining why he thought it was important for the schools to require masks. This was his right. He has a right to give his opinion, and he has a right to receive respect while speaking.
We always tell young people that they must show adults respect. Yet, where was Grady Knox’s respect? He was heckled by people who scream and yell day and night about their freedom. Where was Grady Knox’s freedom?
If this had taken place at school between students, the laughing, heckling students would have been marched to the principal’s office. Almost every school has an anti-bullying policy. Yes, the rude members of the audience were trying to get Grady Knox to stop speaking--that is a form of bullying.
In his speech, Grady Knox said,
"This time last year, my grandmother, who was a former teacher at the Rutherford County school system died of COVID because someone wasn't wearing a mask…."
He actually had to pause and turn around to look at the audience members sitting behind him with their professional, commercially made signs. They were making so much noise he couldn’t continue, but he did continue. As a psychologist, I am so very proud of this young man. He did not let a group of adult bullies stop him from speaking at the school board meeting.
Then, he went on to say,
“As long as I can get my message across, I don't really think it matters what the crowd thinks of me…. Overall, they're not the ones making the decisions for the school.”
At my reading clinic, we talk every single day about how important it is to be kind and supportive of one another. I would never allow students to laugh at another student, no matter what the reason. Laughing at others is wrong.
Rutherford County's school board later announced they would be adopting a “temporary 30 day mask requirement” for all schools. It’s a start, but it will take more than a mere 30 days to protect the children.
Yes, I've talked before about how important it is to have mask mandates in our schools. We need all students, teachers, staff, and parents wearing masks when they come inside school buildings. We also need more young people like Grady Knox, who will stand up to the bullies, say what needs to be said, and continue to fight for the health and safety of everyone. Thank you, Grady Knox. May you always be an example to others.
Mask Mandates Do Not Cause Medical or Psychological Harms to Children
We Must Have Mask Mandates to Protect Children from the Delta Variant