MOORHEAD — About 10 parents and grandparents protested the Moorhead Area Public Schools mask mandate on Friday, Sept. 10, saying they’re raising awareness about parental choice over what they called fear of the delta variant of the coronavirus.

Shortly before 8 a.m., the protesters met at Horizon Middle School at 3601 12th Ave. S., holding signs that said “Faith over Fear,” “Universal masking is discrimination” and “You’re bullying kids.” Some passing cars honked in support and at least one person gave the protesters an obscene gesture while they stood on a nearby sidewalk.

Brenda Richman, a spokeswoman for Moorhead Area Public Schools, said the district had no comment on the protest other than to say it “had no impact to the start of school at Horizon West Middle School.”

Protester Barbara Werre, who has grandchildren in Moorhead schools, said she and others demonstrating were "trying to reinforce the idea that people should have the freedom to choose what they do with their day and at school."

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“I’ve done a lot of research over the past year … and there’s so much falsity out there about COVID,” Werre said. “They’re teaching us to be fearful. Masks don’t work. I don’t know if you can find one study that says they work.”

Another protester, Jason Harmon, a veteran, said the mask mandate is an infringement on personal freedoms.

“The rage of the delta variant killing kids is why we are masking right now," Harmon said, stressing that some states, like North Dakota, have seen zero COVID-19 deaths of children in recent months.

Protester Christina Troy has children in West Fargo Public Schools, and feels fortunate that the district does not have a mask mandate in place at this time. Currently, Fargo Public Schools and Moorhead Area Public Schools have mask mandates in place.

“Medical decisions need to be kept part of our personal responsibility, which is to take care of our health and children,” Troy said. “Any time there is a risk, there must be a choice. I know there are strong opinions on both sides, but go find the truth. It’s out there.”

On Aug. 30, parents and concerned citizens also protested the mask mandate in front of Moorhead High School.