The power to decide the best outcome for children has fallen back into the hands of parents after Gov. Glenn Youngkin, R-Va., signed a bill on Wednesday banning mask mandates in every public k-12 school in the state.
Youngkin held a signing ceremony with supporters, including a young child who said she has been suspended multiple times for not wearing a mask in school, on the Capitol after the final passage of SB 739 in the Republican-controlled House.
“Since Day 1, we have advocated, we have stood together for parents’ rights to make decisions for their children,” Youngkin said during the ceremony.
The legislation prohibits public schools from forcing children to wear masks, ultimately granting parents sole authority over the decision. Moreover, a parent would not need to provide a reason or “any certification of the child’s health or education status” for opting out from mask-wearing.
The bill guarantees students will suffer no “adverse disciplinary or academic consequences as a result of this parental election.”
Initially, the legislation was to take effect July 1. However, Youngkin further amended it, adding an emergency clause demanding local systems allow students to opt-out of mask mandates starting March 1.
Youngkin’s pledge to fight for parental rights during Virginia’s gubernatorial race seemed to be the deciding factor that pushed voters toward the Trump-endorsed candidate over former Democrat Gov. Terry McAuliffe.
With the signing of SB 739, Youngkin continues to act upon his campaign promises, championing parents’ rights.