Absence of masks calls for an increase in respect

Dylan Schoenfeld '23, Staff Writer

Thursday, Feb. 17 will forever be a day that marked change. The mask mandate was lifted for Grosse Pointe Public schools, leaving both teachers and students stunned. Along with the dissolution of the mandate came much controversy from members of the community. Deputy Superintendent for Educational Services at GPPSS, Roy Bishop, has been in this position for almost a year now, and described the event as the most controversial topic he’s dealt with in his career.
“It’s a situation where you have a ton of people who want different things during an extremely hard time like the pandemic,” Bishop said. “Everyone has a different view on masking and being able to listen to the people and operate with empathy is extremely important.”
Not only does the lifting of the mandate create worry about sickness spreading, but also worries of a bias developing between those who decide to wear a mask, and those who don’t. Students like Jordan Wharton ’23 are anxious that their teachers, who still choose to wear a mask, will look down on those who don’t.
“Right after the mandate was lifted, some of my teachers seemed to be super upset with the decision,” Wharton said. “After removing my mask I became a little nervous that my teachers who expressed anger towards the lifting of the mandate would think of me differently.”
This remains a country where individuality is stressed and prioritized, according to teacher David Lubanski. Both students and teachers are entitled to their own opinions, but it’s always important to keep respect in mind. Lubanski has been able to enforce a positive attitude in his classroom, highlighting the significance of respect during this time.
“No teacher should get mad at a student for expressing their opinion,” Lubanski said. “While it is completely okay for a teacher to have their own opinion on a specific topic, a teacher should never get mad at a student because their opinion differs from their own.”
Along with the fear of teachers developing a bias, students who choose to wear their mask are also listening to other people ridicule their decision to remain masked. Student Raelyn Paling ’23 expresses the lack of respect that has come with the lifting of the mandate.
“It’s kind of awkward walking around the hallway with my mask on listening to people around me talk about how dumb people are for continuing to wear their mask,” Raelyn Paling ’23 said. “I shouldn’t have to feel embarrassed for my own personal beliefs.”
During this time, respect is being heavily stressed. With all the controversy and disputes swarming around the topic of masks, it’s important to remain courteous towards others, and to not lose sight of the strong sense of unity among the members of the community.
“I think this is an opportunity for us to listen to one another, to have empathy for one another, and be kind to one another,” Bishop said. “We can all have different opinions but at the end of the day we should all be able to work together in order to ensure everyone does well.”