Teachers at a top Manhattan high school pressured students to stay masked on Monday — all with the blessing of their principal, The Post has learned.
Beacon High School principal Brady Smith apparently sought to undermine the mayor’s ending of the school mask mandate by telling parents that teachers could ask their students to wear masks.
“While teachers cannot mandate a mask in their classroom, they may request that students wear one as many of us have vulnerable loved ones at home,” Smith wrote in a letter obtained by the Post.
Many said they were repeatedly asked to keep their masks on by teachers Monday — even after Mayor Eric Adams made the coverings optional for kindergarten through 12th graders.
Students told the Post that the principal’s position had a direct impact.
A freshman told The Post that he had giddily shed his mask — until he was pressured into keeping it on by an instructor.
“My English teacher said ‘It’s preferred in my class to keep wearing the mask’ so I put it back on,” he said. “You know what that means.”
A Beacon senior said he resented receiving a similar advisory.
“My history teacher asked us to please keep wearing our masks,” said Kaan Bayram, 17. “I don’t think it’s right, the social pressure he was creating. It’s social pressure!”
Another male senior who asked not to be identified said his teacher also discouraged taking off masks.
“One of my teachers asked us to keep wearing them last night,” he said. “It was his message to all of us on Google Classroom. They use it to post assignments, class assignments. He said his family members had co-morbidity and some other teachers had new babies and they want us to keep wearing masks.”
A Beacon parent said teachers should not influence students on the matter one way or another.
“Look, it’s either up to the kid and their parents or it isn’t,” the mom told the Post. “Do we have any say over anything anymore? Can the kids request that their teachers take their masks off so they can hear them again? I’m guessing not.”
Parent and congressional candidate Maud Maron characterized the principal’s accommodation as a a tacit endorsement of “emotional blackmail.”
“It’s outrageous and illegal and inappropriate,” she said Monday. “Guilting children into wearing masks based on unscientific assertions on a day that should be joyous is cruel and unkind.”
This is an excerpt from the New York Post.
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