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Parents laughed and mocked student who spoke about Grandma's Coronavirus death at school meeting

The Tennessee teen shared the story of his personal loss during a debate on mask mandates in the school board meeting.

Parents laughed and mocked student who spoke about Grandma's Coronavirus death at school meeting
Image source: Screenshot/YouTube CNN

A teenager was mocked and laughed at by adults as he defended the use of masks at a school meeting by explaining his grandmother had died due to Coronavirus. Grady Knox, a junior at Central Magnet School, told parents and other staff at the school how his grandmother, who was a teacher, had died of Coronavirus because people refused to wear masks. The video of the clip went viral on the internet. As Knox opened up about his tragic personal loss, others adults can be seen sniggering and jeering at him in the video with one man asking him to shut up during the Rutherford County School Board meeting in Tennessee. Knox's grandmother was a former teacher at Rutherford County school, report NBC News.


Knox said described the moment as “complete insanity." He had revealed his personal story during a discussion on mask mandates. Knox said he was concerned about contracting Coronavirus at school, especially considering that he could then potentially pass it on to his grandparents at home. “They’re higher risk than me, so I don’t want to give them Coronavirus,” said Knox. “This time last year, my grandmother, who was a former teacher at the Rutherford County school system died of Coronavirus because someone wasn't wearing a mask.”



It was at this point, that an unmasked woman at the back started chuckling and dismissing his personal loss. Knox couldn't believe the apathy in the room. The school board chairman intervened, requesting the crowd to calm down. "Hey guys, we're here to act professional," he said. “If they laugh at me about a personal story about my grandmother, that's just disrespectful I feel,” Knox told WSMV. “I was shaken a little bit.” Some people on Twitter identified the woman as a nurse. Knox also urged those who watched the video to not judge the people of Rutherford County from the video. After the video went viral, the school board addressed the heckling. “It was pretty devastating what happened to that young man at this meeting,” said Bill Spurlock, the county’s director of schools. “It’s been all over the news, and I really regret that the young man was treated the way he was. We owe him an apology.”


Knox said he just wanted to share his personal story to help the school take a safer decision with regard to mask mandates. “As long as I can get my message across, I don't really think it matters what the crowd thinks of me,” said Knox. “Overall, they're not the ones making the decisions for the school.” The board did pay heed to his words, among others, and announced a temporary mask mandate starting September 13 till October 14. While the mandate has been announced for a month, the approved motion has a clause to terminate the mandate should the county's positivity rate fell below 10 percent for three consecutive weeks.


Mask and vaccine mandates have been a contentious issue across America. President Joe Biden announced he was taking a stronger stance on vaccine mandates with many refusing to get the vaccine. He issued two executive orders mandating vaccines for federal workers and contractors. He also announced new requirements for large employers and health care providers that he said would affect around 100 million workers. "We've been patient, but our patience is wearing thin," said Biden, reported NBC News. "Your refusal has cost all of us." One Biden administration official said, "It's simple: If you want to work for the federal government, you must be vaccinated. If you want to do business with the government, you must vaccinate your workforce." The Republican National Committee has since announced that it would sue the Biden administration, calling the mandate "unconstitutional" and "authoritarian."


Disclaimer: Information about the pandemic is swiftly changing, and Upworthy is committed to providing the most recent and verified updates in our articles and reportage. However, considering the frequency in developments, some of the information/data in this article may have changed since the time of publication. Therefore, we encourage you to also regularly check online resources from local public health departments, the Centers for Disease Control, and the World Health Organization.

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