Berrien County commissioners hearing out opinions about the mask mandates
ST. JOSEPH, Michigan, -- The Berrien County Commissioners hosted a meeting at Silver Beach, so they would have space to hear from a wide variety of residents who wanted to share their opinions on the mask mandate.
Luke Andresen, who attended the event said "We're concerned about our kids. We're concerned about what's coming next as well."
Many expressed their anger at the mandates for Berrien County schools, saying the masking is affecting their children negatively.
A woman from Watervliet spoke out to the commissioners: "What you are doing to our children is child abuse and goes against our constitution."
Another woman said, in regards to her daughter needing to wear a mask during Volleyball: “Nobody asked her, or her classmates how masking affected their lives. There were no surveys or focus groups, just a bait and switch pronouncement by a bunch of politically motivated beaurecrats.”
And yet another said “We need to look at mental health and the impact that this is having on our already vulnerable high school students.”
And others called for the commissioners to fire the head of the Berrien County Health Department, despite the commissioners not having that power in the state of Michigan.
A Van Buren County resident- who owns some businesses in Berrien County- said “We’re mad. We’re upset. You’re our last line of defense and we’re calling on to you to fire Courtney Davis. She does not represent our ideals.”
However, some did come out to support the mandates.
“Their choice to unmask those children affects my daughter. Why should she be exposed unnecessarily to the virus?” asked one concerned man.
“I am one of the many who does support the mask mandate in Berrien County," said one woman. "I am not here to give any facts about COVID and masks because the Health Department, consisting of individuals with experience in public health and medical doctrine has already done that very thoroughly on their website.”
Things did get heated at points, Berrien County Sheriff Paul Bailey- and the commissioners - urged the crowd to remain civil.
Luke Andresen, applauded those who came out to support the mandate rather than condemn it.
“I actually really really respect the people that- I disagree with them- but I really respect that they came out here because we are a huge group," Andresen said.
One thing the protestors wanted to reiterate was that they do not want to tell others how to respond to the pandemic, but for them to respect the choices they make.
Mark Durocher, who pulled his children out of Saint Joseph schools, said “I just want to make sure that people understand that we’re not against other parents and that we’re here to respectfully ask for our god given right and that’s our freedom of choice.”