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Students suspended for not wearing masks to school

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Crab Orchard suspension

WILLIAMSON CO (WSIL)---On Monday morning, Marlena McCoy sent her three children to their first day of school at Crab Orchard School.

McCoy said minutes later, she was informed her children would not be able to attend school if they did not wear masks, complying with Illinois's mask mandate.

Each child received a suspension for each day they came to school without wearing a mask.

"We were very well prepared for that conversation. And we stood firm on where we stand and that we believe that we are not going to mask our children. We believe that the government is overstepping their bounds," McCoy said.

Crab Orchard Superintendent Sy Stone tells News 3 in a statement:

"The Crab Orchard Board of Education and administration are sympathetic to the concerns and frustrations of community members over the Governor’s Mask Mandate. However, at this time we feel it is in the best interest of the District to follow the mask mandate."

McCoy is firmly against the mandate, saying it goes too far.

"We feel strong and very invested in where this is constitutionally and how this is overstepping and overreaching," McCoy said.

Jennifer Brobst, an associate professor at the SIU school of Law, disagrees.

"It is not unconstitutional to require masks of school aged children," Brobst said.

In fact, Brobst said the constitution has policies in place which allow for public health safety policies.

"State and local government can do what they need to do for necessary public health reasons under what we call the police power. And so you have across the country a whole variety of local ordinances for example, relating to masks or other public health concerns. And that's perfectly normal and was envisioned from the start of our constitution," Brobst said.

As for McCoy, she chose to enroll her children in private school, rather than return to masked public school.