“Last year, we had masks at school and we know that they worked because we could stay in school all year,” he said. “This year we’ve already had to shut down because of a lack of staff in the school—and we’re only a month into it. This is going to continue if we don’t have a mask mandate.”
“I’m worried about my family. If I get COVID, I’m going to bring it to my family, and I talk to my grandparents a lot. They’re higher risk than me, so I don’t want to give them COVID.” He continued, “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.”
However, he was quickly ridiculed by adults in the audience, who were laughing and making comments during his speech. The school board chairmen censured the crowd, telling them, “Hey guys, we’re here to act professional.” The clip has since gone viral on social media.
Rutherford County Schools shuttered on Friday after at least 14 bus drivers and 55 cafeteria workers were experiencing COVID-related symptoms. In the end, the board decided that face masks can be optional during school.
“It was complete insanity from my perspective,” Knox told WSMV-TV. “If they laugh at me about a personal story about my grandmother, that’s just disrespectful, I feel. So, I was like shaken a little bit.”
He told the outlet that the heckling won’t stop him from voicing his opinions. “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,” Knox said.