Teacher allegedly violates school policy by forcing student to remove mask

On Wednesday, a charter school on the northwest side of San Antonio became the center of controversy when a concerned father accused a teacher of violating school policy by forcing his daughter to remove her mask. The incident took place at Great Hearts Western Hills, located off Ingram Road. The father, who requested anonymity, shared his daughter’s story in order to raise awareness about the issue. He explained that his daughters had been wearing masks at Great Hearts charter school without any problems for the past two years, but everything changed this week in the hallway.

According to the father, a teacher approached his daughter and informed her that she could not wear a mask unless she had a medical reason. The father asserted that his daughter did have a medical reason and had even filed an asthma action plan with the school nurse prior to the start of the school year. While her asthma played a role in her decision to wear a mask, she also wanted to protect a vulnerable family member. The father revealed that his 18-year-old daughter had been diagnosed with cancer.

In response to the incident, the father emailed Trinette Keffer, the upper school headmaster, seeking an explanation. He paraphrased Keffer’s response as suggesting that masks hindered proper communication and impeded learning. The father shared a copy of the correspondence with KENS 5. In her email, Keffer stated, “We have found over the last 2 years that most students who have continued to wear a mask were not doing it for any medical reason, but that it was just a teenage trend common to friend groups – similar to a social contagion. Most students we have stopped couldn’t tell us a good reason to wear the mask, so we told them to remove it.”

Expressing his concern about the current COVID situation, the father criticized the school’s enforcement approach, stating that it would only worsen the situation, especially considering the increased number of students this year. Keffer proposed that the father’s daughter wear a special tag on her ID to indicate that she was allowed to wear a mask, but the father strongly opposed this suggestion.

Great Hearts Texas, in a statement to KENS 5, confirmed that the actions of the teacher and headmaster violated school policy. The school asserted that its policy allowed students to choose whether to wear a mask or not, and this policy had been in effect for over two years. They assured that the incident would be thoroughly investigated, and all parties involved would be informed of the school’s policy and receive support.

In a phone conversation with a Great Hearts Texas administrator, they assured that teachers and staff would be reminded of the mask policy. The father also revealed that Keffer had called him to apologize for the incident.

KENS 5 reached out to three of the largest school districts in San Antonio, namely NISD, NEISD, and SAISD, to inquire about their mask policies. It was discovered that all three districts followed a similar policy, allowing students to decide whether to wear a mask or not.

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