Anti-mask protest disrupts midterms

On Feb. 1, during the period 8 midterm, calls of “Contact your mayor! Contact your governor!” by an anti-mask protester were once again heard throughout the science wing echoing from a bullhorn outside.

This anti-mask protester first came to WHS exactly one week earlier on Jan. 25, and he also currently visits the BOE building three times a week to spread the same message of unmasking the kids. WHS Principal Mary Asfendis said that because of his frequent presence at the BOE, she wasn’t surprised when he showed up at the school, but it was still a bit unexpected.

Everyone has a right to express their opinion, but in this case, according to Asfendis, it was not the right time or place to exercise his rights. “He was disrupting students who don’t have much power to change the rules of masking,” said Asfendis, who was upset and disappointed by the protester’s presence.

The protest was distracting to students, especially because it was during midterms. However, since he was not breaking any actual laws, there wasn’t much the school could do to get the Westfield resident off the property. Thankfully, the protester was peaceful and did not try to cause any real trouble.

The situation was handled by WHS Resource Officer Nick Calello. “I just went up to him and talked to him. He wasn’t aggressive towards me at all,” he said. Calello says he expects the protester will be back to continue voicing his opinion in hopes of change.

It was announced on Monday that the mask mandate was officially lifted by New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and will go into effect on March 7. The school districts will still have the power to decide to go mask-choice.