Hundreds of parents, children and families gathered outside of the H. Lee Dennison Building on Veterans Memorial Highway in Hauppauge Friday to protest required mask-wearing in schools.
As of Feb. 9, Gov. Kathy Hochul ended a COVID-19 mandate requiring face coverings in most indoor public settings but ruled to keep masking rules in place in schools for now.
In response to this, The People’s Coalition for New York organized statewide rallies against mask mandates in 10 different regions on Friday, including Long Island.
Protesters chanted “We Do Not Comply” and “We The People” and raised signs reading “Unmask Our Kids,” “Our Children Our Choice,” amongst other messages.
Parked on the property, a van with a jumbo screen displayed various images, such as two graphics that compared being unvaccinated to segregation and the mask mandate to Jews being forced to wear a yellow Star of David during the Holocaust.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still recommends universal masking in schools and reports that getting vaccinated lowers one’s risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19.
Speakers of all ages at the Hauppauge rally shared their experiences and criticisms of masks on children, including a young boy who held a microphone and shouted, “We want the freedom to see our friends smile.”
Other young individuals voiced their refusal to wear masks in school and how they hope to encourage other kids to do the same.
Donna Schmidt, a registered nurse (who is currently unemployed, she said) and founder of the group New Yorkers Against Medical Mandates, declared it’s important to start having conversations with others about what’s going on in the world.
“You were born with inalienable rights, no one on this planet can take that away from you, no government, no organization, no person,” Schmidt said. “It’s our primary job to educate people, and when we do, that’s when they’re going to start coming into the game with us, that’s when they’re gonna start standing by your side.
“And the other piece that’s important about that is it has to be non-partisan, not divisive — this is a human rights issue,” she continued. “If you bleed red, this fight is for you.”
Scroll down for photos of Friday’s rally in Hauppauge. Be sure to click on the numbered boxes to continue viewing.