Anti-mask group hands out food coupons to Redmond HS students, plans protest
(Update: Adding video, comments from protesters, Redmond students)
REDMOND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Members of the group People’s Rights gathered in front of Redmond High School around lunchtime Thursday, continuing a 10-day protest and expressing their views against requiring mask use in schools.
Among the participants was protest organizer Scott Stuart.
“We are protesting the illegal and expired mask mandate by the governor,” Stuart said.
Issued by the Oregon Health Authority and Oregon secretary of state, the current indoor mask mandate is an administrative rule.
But Stuart does not support mask use in schools, and feels wearing a mask is actually bad for a person's health.
“Now you’re wearing a mask, do you feel your breathing is restricted?” Stuart asked NewsChannel 21 reporter Noah Chast.
He said no, to which Stuart responded, “Okay, well you’re very abnormal.”
Stuart was handing out information packets and $5 food coupons to students who came by to listen.
“Does the vaccine prevent you from getting Covid or spreading Covid? No. Then why are you being told you have to get a vaccine?” Stuart asked a group of students gathered around him.
Some students, like freshman Natalie Alexander, say they are glad Stuart is there.
“Honestly it's kind of nice to walk out after getting yelled at all the time by teachers and people in the school to put on their mask,” Alexander said.
Sophomore Alexander Van Raiden agrees.
“I think it's a good thing. Honestly, my parents love it,” Van Raiden said.
Mackenzie, another sophomore at Redmond High, said students are already ignoring the mask rule.
“A lot of kids at school are already protesting against it by just taking their masks off and not wearing them. So I mean, what’s the difference this is going to do?” Mackenzie said.
However, other students, like senior Gavin Pflugrath, support the right to protest, but don’t necessarily agree with the message.
“Yes you don’t really have to wear a mask, but I think if you’re on private property or even government property like the school then they should be able to do that,” Pflugrath said.
NewsChannel 21 asked sophomore Joshua Veracruz why he came to listen to Stuart speak.
“Money -- it's just money,” Veracruz said, laughing.
“It's our lunch money. I just bought two pounds worth of food at M&W over there, so I mean -- it works, it's worth it but it's just, it’s bogus. They don’t need to do this.”
NewsChannel 21 asked Stuart if he feels he is using the food coupons to bribe kids into supporting him and the People’s Rights’ narrative.
“I don’t know, Governor Brown is bribing people with lottery tickets to go get their vaccines. What’s the difference?” Stuart asked.
Stuart also recommends all students take off their masks at school next Friday, Feb. 4 in protest.
Sheila Miller, the Redmond School District's public information officer, said it's not having any mask use compliance issues currently.
"If a protest like that happens, then our administrators are very capable of handling something like that and they’ll take care of it," she said. "I’m not worried about it.”