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BR fourth-grader suspended for refusing to wear mask

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) – A nine-year-old has been suspended from University Lab, a school located on the LSU campus in Baton Rouge, after refusing to wear a mask inside his fourth grade classroom.

Classes resumed at the LSU Lab School Tuesday, Jan. 4 following the holiday break with a warning from the school that masks in the classroom are now required. 

But a nine-year-old stood his ground refusing to comply.

On Tuesday morning, Kyle Robichaux and his wife were notified by LSU’s Lab School they needed to pick up their child because he’s been suspended for not wearing a COVID mask in class.

Robichaux said he stands behind his son’s decision. He added that he believes it is “buffoonish” for students to be required to wear masks in the classroom while thousands are allowed to gather inside the nearby Pete Maravich Assembly Center (PMAC) for basketball games where no masks are required. Nearly 12,000 fans were inside the PMAC Tuesday night to watch the LSU men’s basketball team play against Kentucky. The vast majority of those fans were not wearing a mask.

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The paid attendance for No. 21 LSU men's basketball hosting No. 16 Kentucky in the Pete...
The paid attendance for No. 21 LSU men’s basketball hosting No. 16 Kentucky in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center on Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022, was 11,808.(Josh Auzenne | WAFB)

“I have some concerns that education is not their priority but controlling our children are and I think that’s a big problem,” said Robichaux. “I think it’s ridiculous. You know, we can have thousands of people at the PMAC last night to celebrate the game with Kentucky unmasked, largely unmasked. And then our kids, you know 25 kids in a room, have to wear a mask to get an education.”

University Lab recently informed parents that when classes resumed this week, students would be required to wear masks inside classrooms as a precaution against the spread of COVID-19.

In an email to the student’s parents, Lab School Director Kevin George said the student was being suspended for three days for violating the mask policy. In the email, he reminds the parents that they were previously advised that their son “could not remain on campus and refuse to obey a teacher’s directive regarding the mask mandate.”

“A student refusing to follow our mask mandate is a safety concern and would disrupt our campus,” the email from George also stated.

“At this point, everyone knows that his mask mandate is farce. I am not going to teach my children to obey policies that lack rational thought,” explained Robichaux.

Outside the LSU Lab School Wednesday, Jan. 5, as parents waited to pick up the kids, few wanted to talk on camera. Some told WAFB they fully supported the school, but others are behind the fourth-grader and his parents. State Sen. Rick Ward (R – Port Allen) has his own kids in the school.

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“There are so many inconsistencies with what we’re trying to do or what we’re trying to make our kids do. That’s really where the concern comes in for a lot of parents,” Sen. Ward told WAFB.

“When you stop making your kids follow rules that don’t make sense, that’s when things are going to change, and we’ll get back to normal life,” Robichaux explained.

The school says the fourth-grader can return to school this Friday if he agrees to mask up. The father says they have some things to discuss as a family before making that decision.

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