MEXICO, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — A group of about 12 students say they were locked out of Mexico High School in Oswego County Tuesday morning after they showed up not wearing masks.
The group said they refuse to wear masks after a State Supreme Court Judge ruled Monday that Governor Kathy Hochul’s mask requirement for unvaccinated people in public places is unconstitutional. Students who spoke with NewsChannel 9 said it was their individual right to not wear a mask. Those same students admitted to be unvaccinated.
To keep warm, the students set up inside the main entrance’s vestibule. They say their principal wouldn’t allow them inside the building, but they were allowed to leave freely.
As word of the incident spread around, parents of at least five of the students joined the group. The parents expressed anger that their students were being denied an education.
The group of parents and students were joined by someone who said the district was in violation of the court order and brought protest signs.
At least one Oswego County Sheriff’s Deputy and two New York State Troopers had vehicles parked outside the entrance.
The superintendent of the Mexico School District did not respond to NewsChannel 9’s requests for comment.
A spokesperson from the New York State Education Department said: “The Governor and State DOH have filed a Notice of Appeal and are seeking confirmation that the Court’s order is stayed. While these legal steps occur, it is NYSED’s position that schools should continue to follow the mask rule.”
After an initial mask mandate by former Governor Andrew Cuomo From April 2020 to June 2021, Governor Hochul announced in mid-December that it would go back into effect for at least a month. Earlier this month, the state health department said the mandate would be in place until February 1.
But importantly, school districts have been under a state-ordered mask requirement since districts reopened for the current school year in September of 2021.