RUTHERFORD COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — The outgoing chairman of a Tennessee school board apologized after a student was heckled while speaking about his late grandmother during a board meeting earlier this week.
The now-viral video shows Central Magnet School student Grady Knox speaking in favor of a mask mandate at Tuesday night’s school board meeting. He talked about his grandmother, who he said died as a result of the virus.
“Last year, my grandmother, who was a former teacher at the Rutherford County School System, died of COVID because someone wasn’t wearing a mask,” Grady told the board before he was interrupted.
The people behind Grady began laughing and shaking their heads, while holding signs that read, “Let our kids smile.” At one point, someone in the background can be heard screaming, “Shut up!”
After looking around, Grady continued. “By not wearing masks in schools, it’s irresponsible.”
National news outlets have since aired the clip, which has been shared all over Facebook, Twitter and TikTok.
Outgoing Rutherford County School Board chairman Coy Young addressed the incident at Thursday night’s meeting.
“I’d like for you guys to keep in mind a young man was here the other night to speak which was a student of Central Magnet. His name is Grady Knox. He was trying to tell us a story about his grandmother he lost. If you haven’t heard it already, it was pretty devastating what happened to that young man at this meeting. It’s been all over the news and I really regret the young man was treated the way he was. We owe him an apology,” Young said.
The Rutherford County School Board passed a temporary mask mandate at Thursday night’s board meeting. The mandate goes into effect Monday and runs through Oct. 14.
Families can opt their children out of the requirement under Gov. Bill Lee’s executive order.