New Jersey Senator introducing bills to ensure students with disabilities aren’t mandated to wear a mask
Following a jaw-dropping report by a New Jersey mother that her 3-year old son was reportedly kicked out of speech therapy for not wearing a mask, State Senator Kristin Corrado (R-40), has introduced a pair of bills to drop the mask mandate in schools for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Under Senator Corrado's legislation, these exemptions would apply to speech therapy students and those students in school districts who opt for students to wear masks in school after the March 7 date Governor Phil Murphy said would be when the state mask mandate for schools would be lifted.
Corrado said that one of her bills would allow students to unmask during speech-language therapy.
“It is unnecessary and insensitive to demand that young kids with speech disorders wear a face covering when they are participating in speech therapy,” Corrado said in a statement. “A child in speech therapy needs to look at their instructor’s eyes, mouth, and facial expressions to learn how to form the correct speech sounds needed to communicate with others. Requiring kids and speech therapists to mask up significantly hinders development and could delay progress for years.”
The aforementioned mother of a 3-year old in need of speech therapy told FOX News that she was told that, "if you don't put a mask on him, we can't provide services anymore," and she is now having trouble coming up with a plan-b.
Senator Corrado’s other legislation, that ties into the first bill, would allow students in Individualized Education Programs, including those with intellectual disabilities and developmental disabilities, to unmask throughout the school day as well.
“Children with special needs may struggle to communicate with their classmates or teachers while wearing a mask,” Corrado said. “While we wait for Governor Murphy’s mask mandate to end, his overbearing executive order is continuing to impede the progress of countless children. Both pieces of legislation will help to override Governor Murphy’s irrational school mask mandate so that our students can better participate in an enriching learning experience.”
These are specific bills, but prior to this, Ocean County State Senator Jim Holzapfel (R-10), Assemblyman Greg McGuckin (R-10), and Assemblyman John Catalano (R-10), introduced legislation and then a revision of it which would prohibit requiring students to wear masks in schools and on school busses, (S-126/A-1632), and (S-3879/A-5830), while leaving mask-wearing at the discretion of the student’s parents.