Klepper attended an anti-mask protest outside the Johnston County school system’s headquarters in Smithfield ahead of a vote to decide whether to continue its mask policy.
North Carolina is seeing a spike in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, with roughly a third of the state’s new cases among children under 17. Most studies have shown that mask use can help limit transmission of the virus in schools, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“But, packed school board meetings and new stars of the right are upset because putting on a piece of cloth is just too much,” Klepper said.
He proceeded to interview several attendees, whose rationales against mask-wearing included acne, having to “smell that funk” when breathing, not being able to see facial expressions and being “a sign of slavery.”
Klepper noted that the rally, which also featured signs and speeches against the teaching of critical race theory in schools, was best characterized as a “general airing of grievances.”
Watch his report below.