Suburban school sends student home for refusing to wear mask

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PALATINE, Ill. — Officials at a suburban high school sent a freshman student home for refusing to put on a mask — a decision her mother said violates her daughter’s rights.

Sheri Urlacher said her 14-year-old daughter was sent home from Fremd High School in Palatine on Friday after officials at the door of the school handed her a mask and asked her to put it on.

“They repeatedly asked her to pull the mask up over her mouth and nose, and when she politely declined, they called me,” Urlacher told the Chicago Tribune.

While the girl was back in school wearing a mask later in the day, the mother said she was bothered by the decision to send her home.

“She’s OK, but she knows she has the right to make decisions about her own body, and it’s not the right of the school and government,” said Urlacher, a single mother whose brother is former Chicago Bears star linebacker Brian Urlacher.

“As a matter of public safety, we are required to enforce the state of Illinois’ school mask mandate to minimize the risk of COVID virus transmission,” Township High School District spokeswoman Erin Holmes said.

“A student’s refusal to wear a mask poses a potential threat to the safety of other students and staff as we return to full in-person instruction,” Holmes continued. She declined to discuss any specific disciplinary decisions.

The incident comes days after Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said all students from preschool through 12th grade must wear masks to help slow the spread of the virulent delta variant that has surged in recent weeks.

Urlacher is one of several Illinois parents who have demanded that their children be allowed to attend school without wearing masks. On Monday, the father of one Illinois student filed a lawsuit against the governor contending that his mask mandate is government overreach.

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