A Joliet elementary school teacher who suffers from severe allergies is on leave this week as she battles school district officials who have barred her from wearing a respiratory mask on campus.
Patricia McReynolds, 53, was told by district officials that she cannot wear the mask on school campus as it is “”alarming” and could cause disruptions with students or parents.” She doesn’t wear the mask while in her classroom as she purchased an air filtration system which she keep there; she only wears the mask while not in her classroom.
McReynolds states that her severe allergies have worsened over the years and “dust, tree and grass pollen, pet dander and an array of other common indoor and outdoor pollutants can trigger asthma-like symptoms, ranging from light coughing and sneezing to gagging, breathing impairment and debilitating headaches. Masks don’t solve the problem, but she said they help enough to keep her working.”
The district has asked for medical notes form doctors stating this is a true condition. MeReynolds claims that she has provided these. Now her attorneys are fighting this case as a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Now this is one I don’t get. Let her wear the mask. If that is her only issue, let her wear the mask. As she states, “If it was a child at the school who needed to wear the mask I bet they’d make concessions.” It apparently is not hindering her teaching as she doesn’t wear it in the classroom and aren’t we trying to teach understanding differences in our children, helping them know that everyone is not just alike. Look at all the Asian countries where it is the norm to wear masks due to variety of medical concerns. What about factory workers who don’t want to breathe in chemicals or the guy who worked on my house cutting some sort of fiber board?
Would she really want to ear this mask if she didn’t have to? What if she had some other medical condition that caused her to have something else out of the ordinary, like a broken arm and her cast interfered with her daily routine? What if she had chemo and lost her hair, could she not wear a hat or scarf because it went against school policy? Good grief!
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