Student blasts school board over mask mandate that lasted more than 400 days

Severson criticized the district for keeping kids masked for over 400 days, thereby instilling in them a fear of normal life.

Maddie LeMonds/Twitter

A high school student in the Twin Cities area expressed delight over her district’s decision to lift its mask mandate, but she also made it clear the destructive mandate will have long-lasting negative effects.

Avery Severson, White Bear Lake Area High School student and Turning Point USA (TPUSA) chapter president, recently spoke at her district’s school board meeting on the repeal of the mask mandate.

She recounts how she felt “joy” upon hearing of the mandate’s repeal and how unfortunate it was that many other students didn’t share her joy.

“My first reaction was joy. We’d finally be able to see each other’s faces again. I would be able to actually know what my teachers look like. But as I looked around me, I realized other students were not as excited as me,” she said.

“Instead they were nervous that they would be able to take them off. It was almost like they didn’t know what to do with themselves. And then I thought to myself how sad that is, that we have a whole generation of kids who are afraid to breathe fresh air,” she added.

Severson then criticized the district for keeping kids masked for over 400 days, thereby instilling in them a fear of normal life and wrecking their mental health and social development.

“For over 400 days we were forced to wear masks to school, yelled at in the hallways, told we were going to harm others for not wearing them, and harassed by other students for not putting them over our noses. Your policy was that two-year-olds needed to wear these masks,” she said.

“And these 400 days don’t even include the time you kept us at home, learning … on the computer, which resulted in the highest rates of mental health issues in years.”

Severson concluded by saying the community “division” over the mandate will be difficult to overcome and that many students and their families will never forget how poorly they were treated simply because they wanted to “breathe fresh air.”


Evan Stambaugh

Evan Stambaugh is a freelance writer who had previously been a sports blogger. He has a BA in theology and an MA in philosophy.