MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — It wasn’t on the agenda, but the mask mandate was on the minds of some parents who spoke at the Berkeley County Board of Education meeting Monday night.

Chad Tolen was among those who spoke. “We teach our kids not to bully, and yet all I see is adults running around bullying each other over masks. I was literally bullied in the parking lot by a self-proclaimed masker. Everyone in this room has free will. The Board of Education is freely choosing not to heed the concerns of the parents and the parents are freely choosing not to back down,” he said.

Mike Palmer was another of 15 parents who spoke out about the mask mandate. “What I see here today is a lack of respect for the people that you serve. What I see here today is a bunch of tyranny, sitting here getting paid, … taxpayer dollars … but you all won’t even give us the chance to be on the agenda. We called. We have asked and asked and asked. And you all won’t do your job.”

Because the item was not on their agenda, the Board of Education took no action.

Berkeley and Morgan County Schools are following a requirement by the Berkeley and Morgan County Health Departments that requires students and staff wear masks indoors when transmission rates reach a certain level.

Health Officer Dr. Kevin McLaughlin said masking helps reduce the time a student would have to quarantine away from school if exposed to a COVID-positive person.