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Elementary school principal silent when asked to explain why kids were forced to mask up but Stacey Abrams wasn't

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Monica Schipper/Getty Images for Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights

The elementary school that permitted Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams to ignore the mask requirements imposed on students and faculty has not explained why Abrams got a pass to ignore the rules.

Glennwood Elementary School is part of the City Schools of Decatur, a public charter school district in DeKalb County, Georgia. Like many schools in the U.S., Glennwood requires all staff and students to wear face masks indoors because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The City of Decatur also has a mask ordinance in effect that requires individuals to wear face coverings while inside businesses, stores, or non-profit establishments that provides goods or services.

School district-approved mask types include surgical or disposable masks, as well as cloth masks. Guidelines require that the mask covers both an individual's nose and mouth.

But since-deleted social media posts revealed that during a recent visit to Glennwood Elementary School, Abrams went without a mask even though she was pictured with numerous students and the school principal, Dr. Holly Brookins.

Abrams was visiting the school to discuss her new children's book for a Black History Month reading event.

Pictures showed students and faculty being required to wear masks, but Abrams — who has strongly supported school mask mandates — being pictured without one. They were shared by a Twitter account belonging to Principal Brookins, who since appears to have deactivated her account.

Abrams' Republican opponents and numerous commentators on social media blasted her hypocrisy, but the school has not explained why she was permitted to forgo a mask in the first place.

Brookins did not respond to requests for comment. The City Schools of Decatur declined to comment.

In a statement to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Abrams campaign said she wore a mask to the event and only removed it so she could be heard by students watching remotely. The campaign said she also posed for several pictures without a mask on the condition that everyone else around her wore face coverings.

The Journal-Constitution reported that video footage shows Abrams wearing a mask as she arrived at the podium and taking it off to speak.

The Abrams campaign has called criticism over her hypocrisy "pathetic, transparent, and silly."

According to school district policy, any exception to the mask requirements requires prior approval and healthcare provider documentation.

It is unclear whether the Abrams campaign received prior approval for the candidate to forgo a mask, whether she was given permission to ditch it on the spot for a photo opportunity, or why Stacey Abrams is so special that the school declined to give children the same privileges afforded to a Democratic candidate for governor.

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