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Kindergartner's dad schools anti-masker parents about what is and isn't in the Bible

Calling out fellow parents who oppose mask mandates, Kanew countered those claiming a religious exemption from wearing a mask with basic facts.

Kindergartner's dad schools anti-masker parents about what is and isn't in the Bible
Cover Image Source: Twitter/TheTNHoller

Most people know Justin Kanew as a two-time Amazing Race contestant. Some even know him as the Democrat who made a bid to represent Tennessee's 7th Congressional District in 2017. However, this time, Kanew has made news by simply being a concerned dad. The father of a 5-year-old daughter became a talking point this week after an epic speech he made in front of the Williamson County Board of Education went viral on social media. Calling out fellow parents who oppose mask mandates, Kanew countered those claiming a religious exemption from wearing a mask with basic facts.


"I'm the dad of a new kindergartner and her first day was right after the chaos last week," Kanew said, referring to the angry protest that erupted in Franklin, Tennessee, on August 10 after the district approved a temporary requirement for masks in elementary schools due to the pandemic. A shocking video from the scene shows some anti-mask parents heckling masked people as they left the session. During the protest, one man was heard telling the driver of a vehicle, "We know who you are. You can leave freely, but we will find you," while others chanted: "We will not comply."


In his speech, Kanew went on to say how his daughter's first day of kindergarten went in the aftermath of this protest. "She went to school and was one of just a few kids in her class wearing a mask, which made her ask why she had to. My answer was because we want to take care of other people," he said. "She's 5 years old but she understood that concept, and it's disappointing that more adults around here can't seem to grasp it." Kanew went on to address those who claim a religious exemption from wearing a mask.




"I asked a pastor friend of mine and he was very clear that there was no actual biblical justification for using the Bible to get out of a mask mandate passed by a majority of this elected board," he said. "But thousands are doing it anyway, calling it a religious exemption, which is frankly just sad. Avoiding masks is not in the Bible, but taking care of others is. Now today we have Governor Lee's executive order to allow opt-outs, which is government overreach undercutting a local decision. If you only like democracy when it goes your way, you don't actually like democracy."


As Kanew mentions in his speech, his address followed an executive order from Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, which gives parents the ability to opt-out of school mask mandates. "I want to acknowledge the frustration and fear that many are feeling - fear of COVID and its effects on your family, fear of government intervention and its effect, and frustration over everything from masks to information that changes by the day," Lee said in the order. "Right now, some of the greatest frustration is occurring in our K-12 schools, especially around the issue of mask mandates. While local decision-making is important, individual decision-making by a parent on issues regarding the health and well-being of their child is the most important."


"No one cares more about the health and well-being of a child than a parent. I am signing an executive order today that allows parents to opt their children out of a school mask mandate if either a school board or health board enacts one over a district," he added. "Districts will make the decision they believe are best for their schools, but parents will have the ultimate decision-making for their individual child’s health and well-being. Our hospitals are struggling under the weight of COVID but those hospital beds are filled with adults. Requiring parents to make their children wear masks to solve an adult problem is in my view the wrong approach."



Kanew also made a few comments on Critical Race Theory in his now-viral speech. "First of all, Critical Race Theory is not in our schools, and it never was," he said. "The people here to complain about it did not know what it was six months ago and had never heard of it. That's why they're going after Diversity, Equity and Inclusion instead and trying to pretend they're the same thing. They aren't. And frankly, there aren't many communities around the globe that need DEI more than this one that we live in."

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