Mohrfeld told to wear a facemask or leave the event
BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – Fort Madison Mayor Matt Mohrfeld missed his son’s graduation on Sunday as he left in protest of students and families not being given the choice to wear a facemask at the event.
Mohrfeld said Monday that his decision was made as a father and not as the Mayor. And he said he was adamant that the move had nothing to do with masks.
Students offered face masks to anyone in attendance who did not have one out of Holy Trinity Catholic’s administration’s concern for the spread of the novel coronavirus during the pandemic.
“I know this might sound weird to you, but this in not an issue of just face masks,” Mohrfeld said.
“I respect everyone that wants to wear a mask and I would never discredit the research used by people to wear a mask, but it’s absolutely and positively up to the people and businesses that want to do that.”
Mohrfeld said his decision to leave and not see his senior son receive his diploma at Sunday’s ceremony was based on what he saw as hypocrisy in the system.
“On the day we’re trying to tell our children it’s time to be an adult, we should have put the information in front of them and allowed them to make a decision,” he said.
“They should have been able to decide. It was their decision on what was appropriate. As a parent, given that the person you’re talking to was raised in the 60s – I had a real problem with that.”
Mohrfeld said he was told by HTC Principal Michael Sheerin that to stay he would have to put on a face mask. Mohrfeld captured video of part of the entrance processional without wearing a face mask and then left the building in protest of the mandate.
Sheerin wrote in a text to Pen City Current Monday that parents and families were notified several weeks ago that if the event, which was originally slated to be held outside, was moved indoors everyone would be required to wear masks.
“What is the point of education if not to lay out information and have kids make a decision. Education is not about blind indoctrination. It just is not,” Mohrfeld said.
“It’s about teaching and allowing an environment where kids learn. I had a problem with that. They are adults now so they should be empowered and you should not make that decision for them.
“An education institution is not acting as an education system and I pushed back on that. They’ve got every right to ask me to wear a mask, but do I sit down and just comply with that when I don’t think that’s the way they should have gone about it? No.”
Mohrfeld’s son stayed through the ceremony with a mask on, as did two of his family members. All other attendees at the one-hour service wore masks and families were seated according to social distancing requirements.
Mohrfeld said he left the decision for his son to stay through the ceremony with his son.
“That got very complicated. He was torn between making a decision and disappointing his mother. He made a decision and God bless him. My decision was different than that,” Mohrfeld said.