Administrators of Valor Collegiate Academy locked the doors on the first day of school as one student attempted to walk into the building without a mask. His parents say their religious exemption should have been honored.
Neil and Melissa Amrhein stood outside the publicly-funded and privately-run charter school with their son for nearly 40 minutes Monday morning. They recorded the encounter with school CEO Todd Dickson, who could be heard explaining why their son was not allowed in the building.
Neil says in years past, the school made exceptions for students who wore certain attire in line with their religious beliefs. He says this should be no different. He and his wife feel their children should not have to wear something they believe would restrict them in any way.
“Our God is not Fauci, it’s Jesus and we should have the rights to be defended and supported in the same way,” Neil said.
Each day their son stays home because of the family stance on masks counts as an unexcused absence and these two say it’s a policy that needs to change. Not just for them, but for the countless other families who also want their kids in school and won’t settle for anything less.
“I would like to make medical decisions for my children and religious decisions for our family. My husband and I like to make those together, without influence from the government or the school board. Our beliefs are that our freedoms come from God, not from man, not from governing bodies,” Melissa said.
The Amrhein family has not decided on what to do next, but says they intend to continue to make periodic trips to the school to demand a change. They say their problem is not with the school, but with their policy to follow Metro guidelines.