Outkick founder and conservative sports radio host Clay Travis spoke out in opposition to mask mandates at a raucous Tennessee school board meeting Tuesday night, where board members eventually voted to institute mask requirements inside certain schools.
Williamson County Schools, where two of Travis's children attend, voted on Tuesday to require masks for students, staff, and visitors inside district elementary schools while leaving masks optional for middle schools and high schools.
But before the vote, a large crowd had gathered both inside and outside of the building where the board meeting took place. During the meeting, several parents, including Travis, urged the board to take a different course.
"You all should be ashamed about the choices you are about to make," Travis said during his speech, foreshadowing the board's ultimate decision.
"We teach our kids that facts matter; that's why they go to school," he continued. "The facts are these: Masks don't work. There isn't a single scientific data that has ever proven that masks work."
"Also let's talk about risk analysis, which is the key," he added. "I feel bad for all these people walking around in masks engaging in cosmetic theater thinking that they are making a difference against COVID — they aren't. Here's the truth, our kids, under 25 years old, one in a million chance that they are going to die of COVID. They are more likely to be struck by lightning ... they are more likely to die of the seasonal flu."
"Have any of you ever mandated masks for the seasonal flu?" Travis went on to say. "Well, shame on you, because every kid in Williamson County Schools has been under more danger from the seasonal flu every year than they are for COVID."
"I would tell every parent here, don't let your kids wear masks. Refuse! Refuse!" he shouted as he concluded his speech and walked away from the podium to loud cheering from community members.
Later, after the vote, Travis blasted the board's decision to require masks for 5- to 11-year-olds as "unscientific madness."
Williamson County Schools Education Board is just one of many school boards across the country that is revisiting rules on masks ahead of the fall semester.
In response to the spread of the delta variant, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued new guidance advising K-12 students, staff, and visitors to wear masks in school buildings — even if they're vaccinated.
The new guidance comes even as vaccines have become widely available and children have shown to be more resistant to the coronavirus since the start of the pandemic.