Community members in Elmhurst, Illinois, held a rally Thursday for a fifth-grader who is being punished for not wearing a mask to school.
According to Fox 32 Chicago, Emmett Thompson, a student at Elmhurst Elementary School, is spending some of his school days in the principal’s office due to his refusal to wear a mask.
Organized by Thompson’s parents, community members gathered outside of the school to protest the punishment for the student.
Paul Kenna, who attended the rally, told Fox News that Emmett and his dad reached out to him on Sunday morning to ask if he would help.
“When a kid is being bullied by the teacher and the principal and the kids, the least I can do is help,” Kenna said.
Kenna also said that more parents should be fighting the mask mandate that many schools are imposing.
Signs at the protest said “Stand with Emmett,” “We support Emmett” and “Elmhurst Supports Emmett.”
Emmett told Fox 32 Chicago that he offered alternatives to the school as well.
“There’s kind of no science behind that masks are safer,” Emmett said. “I (offered) solutions, like ‘Why can’t I stand like 6 feet away?’ or stuff like that.”
Emmett also said that his parents support his decision.
“My mom gave me a good idea, and she said ‘I would totally support you if you stopped wearing one,'” Emmett said. “I respect other people’s opinions because a lot of people disagree with me. But my mom supports me. My family supports me, so I just decided not to wear one.”
Emmett’s mother, Elizabeth, said she’s proud of her son making a “personal choice.”
“I am really proud of him,” Elizabeth said. “I think he’s been standing up for what he believes in, and he’s making his own personal choice. And we’ve been using this as a teachable moment.”
The Elmhurst Elementary School’s website says students are required to wear a mask when inside the Illinois school in an attempt to slow coronavirus spread, following Governor J.B. Pritzker’s executive order.
Fox News reached out to the school district but did not receive a response.