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A group of public high school students in California were punished for taking senior photos without wearing masks and social distancing.
The Burbank Unified School District suspended eight baseball players for not following proper COVID-19 protocols in pictures taken on school grounds.
“We had a group of players and families dress up in uniform and take pictures on campus in violation of health orders (no masks, no social distancing, and mixing of families),” Matt Hill, the superintendent, told the Daily News.
“They then posted the picture on a JBHS baseball social media site. No player or family from the team notified the coach, school, or district of this health order violation,” Hill said.
The varsity team of roughly 40 players was scheduled to begin spring training Monday but will now begin next week and all eight seniors won’t be able to join until March 15, after they received a 2-week suspension.
The superintendent said he did it “so that the team can review health guidelines and safety protocols.”
Jo Dee Freck, a parent who took the photo, told the Daily News the kids were just trying to make their moms happy.
“The kids have lost (almost) an entire year. This photo was taken with the idea to commemorate and remember their senior season,” she said.
Another parent, Brian Nichols, called the punishment “unprecedented and an egregious abuse of the district’s power in order to prove a point.”
“For a district that claims to care about the mental health of its students, this decision is in direct opposition of that claim,” he said.
“This is appalling that a bunch of high school kids who just wanted to get together and get a group picture are now punished because they took off their face coverings,” nationally syndicated radio host Todd Starnes said Thursday.
“This is about submission. This is about breaking the will of the American people,” he said on the Todd Starnes Radio Show. “The only way to fix this. You gotta run for school board.”
“This is madness,” Clay Travis, OutKick founder, said about the suspension.