COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
A parent at Columbia Public Schools voiced her frustration with the district's mask mandate at the Columbia Board of Education meeting Monday night.
Amanda Hamlin's son is a senior at Hickman High School. Hamlin says that because of the mask requirements, the senior was burned while wearing a mask under his welding helmet.
She believes there's no reason students should be forced to wear a face covering when welding.
"They weld in a booth. They're completely covered, there's no reason to have a cotton mask and he has been welding several times," Hamlin said.
Hamlin said she's contacted school administrators about her concerns but hasn't heard much. "I've asked the school. None of them can give me an explanation as to why it's required," Hamlin said.
Columbia Public School spokesperson Michelle Baumstark emailed ABC 17 News a statement.
"The information shared is not accurate. The school has had several conversations with the parent and student regarding wearing mask properly and what is required," Baumstark said. "A welding helmet is not intended to control respiration from the nose and mouth, therefore can not replace the face mask," Baumstark said.
Hamlin claims her son has been threatened with disciplinary actions and possible denial of graduation if he doesn't wear a mask under his welding helmet.
Hamlin said if the school is going to move forward with the mask mandate, then providing extra protection or a fire retardant mask may be the solution.
Baumstark said welders commonly wear respirator masks under a welding hood for additional protection and that the purpose of the welding helmet is protect the eyes and full face. If the helmet is worn properly, Baumstark says there should be no risk of sparks hitting the face or face mask.