School nurse suspended after advocating against children wearing masks

A school nurse was suspended for advocating against the use of masks and suggested it was “inhumane” to force children to wear them.

“I wanted to make a statement to get their attention that masking kids for six to seven hours a day is wrong.  I knew what the consequences would most likely be, and I still wanted to spread the word about how harmful these masks all day are for the students,” Erin Pein said in an interview.

Pein was suspended without pay on April 20 by the Stafford Township school district in New Jersey for her opposition to children being forced to wear a mask while in the classroom. Pein also refused to wear a mask while on the job.  

“I came to the realization that just voicing my concerns wasn’t going to make a difference, so I decided to let my district know that I was not going to be compliant with mask-wearing for myself anymore,” she added.

Pein explained her experience with the school and offered insight into her anti-mask convictions. Including stories of unsanitary practices being used by the children.

She said a student had a “bandana type” mask tied so tightly around their neck that they could not take it off, causing the child to wear it for over two weeks straight. Pein and another teacher cut the bandana off the child’s neck and replaced it with a surgical-style mask.

“A second-grader vomited in class, and she came down [to the nurse’s office] in her mask. I was like, ‘oh, sit down, I’ll be right with you’, and she was crying. I said, ‘take off the mask. It’s okay.’ So I went over to go see her and have her take off the mask, and the mask was filled with vomit,” Pein explained.

“I want to continue to speak out about the harmfulness of these masks, I want to make a difference for these kids who need a voice.  I am also concerned about the mental health of the students as well. These masks are damaging a generation … our kids. If the masks worked at preventing COVID, that would be great, but they, unfortunately, do not,” she added.

Her supporters, including GOP gubernatorial candidate Hirsh Singh, plan to be at the May 10 school board meeting to protest her suspension.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy issued an order last year calling for people in New Jersey to wear face masks both indoors and outdoors in public if they can’t practice social distancing. Murphy has yet to update this order after new guidance from the CDC was released last week saying fully vaccinated people can safely go maskless outdoors when they walk, bike or run alone or with members of their household.

The NJ Department of Education guidelines for the reopening of schools require students to wear masks at all times except when eating. Exceptions are allowed for medical reasons. Parents who do not want their children to wear masks can continue remote learning.

The CDC currently recommends that all children ages two years and older, should wear masks when interacting with anyone with whom they do not live with.