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Kalamazoo County Citizens United wants sheriff to end county mask mandate

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A group called Kalamazoo county citizens united protest the county mask mandate outside the sheriff's office. (WWMT/Emirrora Austin)

A group named Kalamazoo County Citizens United called on Kalamazoo County Sheriff Richard Fuller to force health officials to drop the county mask mandate for K-6 schools.

Parents protested in front of the Kalamazoo County Sheriff's Office and Comstock Middle School Friday and said the mask mandate is unconstitutional. However, state law says county health departments can put orders in place, like the school mask mandate issued by the Kalamazoo County Health and Community Services Department.

Eric Phares said his daughter, a sixth grader at Comstock Middle School, was kicked out of school for not wearing her mask.

"She kept telling him she couldn’t breathe and he said he didn’t care, put her mask on," Phares said.

The district superintendent said the girl was not expelled and that her parents chose to transfer her to virtual learning.

The superintendent also said the school gave the student mask breaks and other accommodations.

Phares said the mask interfered with his daughter's learning disability.

"She has to be able to see the teacher’s mouths and with her dyslexia causes her anxiety which makes it hard for her breathe,“ said Phares.

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study showed schools without mask mandates are about four times more likely to experience a COVID-19 outbreak than schools with mandates.

"We should be living our lives and as parents we should have the choice to vaccinate, mask and do whatever we see fit to protect our children," Kelly Sackett, a parent with Kalamazoo County Citizens United, said.

Parents in the group want Fuller to step in and force the health department to drop the mandate.

"He has the constitutional authority to top this insanity," Sackett said.

A member of the Kalamazoo County Citizens United group said they’ve been calling and emailing the sheriff.

She said they finally got a response and plan to set up a meeting with him soon.

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