Unmask Our Kids CT conquers state


Photo by Samantha Sandrew '24

Mask Choice Westport’s signs protest in intersections across Westport, similar to Unmask Our Kids CT, despite being unaffiliated with the group.

Governor Ned Lamont announced the end of the school mask mandate on Feb. 2. Organizations like Umask Our Kids CT have been protesting this requirement for about a year. 

This group advocates for the removal of masks in school. A common motto used by them is “My Child, My Choice.” Westport residents’ reaction to this movement has greatly differed.  

“Should we be forcing people? Should there be mandates? Should people have choices or shouldn’t they?” Johnathon Johnson, founder of Unmask Our Kids CT, said. 

Should we be forcing people? Should there be mandates? Should people have choices or shouldn’t they?

— Johnathon Johnson

Johnson created a page called CT Liberty Rally in April of 2020 which has multiple movements: Vaccine Freedom CT, Connecticut Business Coalition, Unmask Our Kids CT and Run for Office. Unmask Our Kids CT started as a Facebook group in May of 2021 and has grown since then. Now, a website displays their efforts. This includes a video to Lamont, and a petition started in June 2021 which now has over 20,000 signatures. 

 “We were responding to the voices of parents and children that have had complications including mental health issues, behavioral issues and setbacks,” Johnson said. “[They] wanted to have choices over whether their children or the students themselves should be able to wear a mask or not wear a mask.”

The most recent event was a rally on Feb. 9. The Hartford event called for students to protest by missing school and attending the rally instead. The goal was to show Connecticut legislators that people across the state want to have mask choice for their children.

“Yesterday’s rally was very successful. We were able to go out and make a statement,” Johnson said. “We had 100’s of people from around the state take the day off of work, out of school, out of their personal lives and march to the capital peacefully.”  

 One hundred towns out of the 169 in Connecticut have organizations promoting the choice of wearing a mask in school. People in Fairfield County branched out into smaller sections from the larger Unmask Our Kids CT group in order to more immediately address the mask mandate in their towns. While some of these groups like Mask Choice Westport do not directly stem from Unmask Our Kids CT, they often assemble together for events. 

“We are just a group of moms who support the person running [Mask Choice Westport] and help in a lot of different ways to spread the word and help unmask the kids,” a Staples mom, who is a part of Mask Choice Westport, said.  

Mask Choice Westport now has 721 followers on Instagram. The account’s supporters flooded representative’s inboxes urging them to vote against the codification of Governor Lamont’s 11 Executive Orders. These powers allow Lamont to repeal or enforce the school mandate himself. Regardless of the group’s efforts, some students disagree with what these organizations are fighting for.

“People who are susceptible to having serious complications from Covid could end up getting hurt when kids who aren’t masked get Covid and then spread it,” Sophie Hekmat ’22 said. 

Despite some students finding the mask mandate necessary, parents with opposing views have strongly voiced their opinion and demanded for action.

“Because the numbers are so low at least at the high school where the majority of the students are vaccinated,” a Staples parent said, “I feel like we do not need masks anymore.”