Things took a strange turn during a local school board meeting in Dripping Springs, Texas, Monday when a parent stripped down to his underwear while delivering a message on masks.
The board meeting was intended to merely review a range of topics such as financial reports, construction updates, and bond information ahead of a full board meeting next week. But according to Dripping Springs Century News, those in attendance turned the meeting into a referendum on the district's mask-optional stance.
One parent, James Akers, used not only words but actions to communicate the need to implement a mask mandate in schools.
"I do not like the government or any other entity, just ask my wife, telling me what to do," Akers said at the start of his demonstration.
"At work, they make me wear this jacket. I hate it. They make me wear this shirt and tie. I hate it," the 15-year resident continued while removing his jacket. His shirt, tie, and undershirt hit the ground shortly after.
"On the way over here, I ran three stop signs and four red lights," he continued facetiously. "I almost killed somebody out there, but by God, they're my roads too. So I have every right to drive as fast as I want to, make the turns that I want to."
"I got over here to the school today, and the parking lot was full, and I decided I was going to park wherever the hell I wanted to — which, in this case, happened to be a handicap [spot]," Akers continued.
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At this point, he removed his pants.
People in the audience gasped and officers started to move toward him before anything else was unveiled. But Akers ended his striptease there and finished with a concluding point.
"It's simple protocol, people," Akers said. "We follow certain rules for a very good reason."
As the speech ended, school board president Barbara Stroud interjected, "Mr. Akers, I believe you're a swimmer, but if you wouldn't mind putting your pants back on for a comment, that would be greatly appreciated."
Akers complied and returned to his seat, but not before reportedly fist-bumping one of the officers who had approached him.
Akers' point, it would seem, is that people follow all sorts of rules every day without much complaint, but when it comes to masks, their response is unnecessarily different.
In an interview with KXAN-TV the following day, Akers doubled down on his claim.
"There are too many voices out there that I think are digging in for political reasons, and absolutely just not thinking about the commonsense decisions we make every day to comply with everything from driving down the road and being safe and courteous to other drivers to not parking in handicapped spots," he argued. "All these rules that we're given every day that we follow because they make sense."
Dripping Springs Independent School District remains unconvinced, however, as do many school districts around the country.