Bay Port High student says she fears going to class, mask wearing students get bullied

Howard-Suamico School District
Howard-Suamico School District(WBAY)
Published: Sep. 14, 2021 at 10:33 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 14, 2021 at 10:39 PM CDT
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HOWARD, Wis. (WBAY) - A high school student at the Howard-Suamico School District says she’s afraid to go to class due to the lack of Covid-19 protocols in the district.

This comes as area hospital officials say they’re running out of ICU beds and more kids are being hospitalized all because of covid.

Eve Bridges, 17, has been wearing a mask to classes at Bay Port High School since the start of the new year, yet told Action 2 News she feels peer pressure to abandon it.

“A friend of mine who wears a mask, along with me and a very small handful of students, she actually got spat on by a unmasked student who was judging her for wearing a masks and called her a liberal,” the high school senior said. Bridges added her friend didn’t report it to a school staff member.

The Howard-Suamico School District recommends students wear a mask but stops short of a requirement. District policy, which is available on HSSD’s website, stated harassment or bullying related to face coverings will not be tolerated.

Bridges said she decided to speak up out of a fear that she’s not only experiencing, but others in the district have as well regarding HSSD’s mitigation policies.

“I felt intimidated like first week of school and I still continue to wear a mask despite the looks,” Bridges said. “I know how serious things are now, and it’s hard that people don’t see that.”

HSSD’s director of communications Brian Nicol said the district wasn’t aware of bullying situations when it comes to masking.

“Not unique to our school district. Any other high schools in the area are probably dealing with similar concerns, and I would venture that any of them would say to bring concerns to a trusted adult in school,” Nicol said.

According to HSSD, administrators speak with their counterparts at other school districts in order to understand what works and doesn’t.

The district’s Covid-19 dashboard listed five classrooms are in quarantine as of Tuesday. Lineville Intermediate School has the most students in quarantine, 95 were in close contact with a covid positive person.

Prevea Health President and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Ashok Rai sits on the district’s medical advisory team and has previously said on Action 2 News that schools should be using masks.

On Tuesday’s Action 2 News This Morning Dr. Rai expressed concern over the rising hospitalization rate among area children.

“Two weeks into school starting last year and two weeks for school starting this year. We looked at the number of children who turned positive, and it’s doubled, unfortunately, from last year to this year. When we looked at the age breakdown, it was pretty significant in those under the age of 12,” Dr. Rai said.

The number of vaccinated 12 to 17 year old’s in Northeast Wisconsin is 50% to 51%, according to Dr. Rai.

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