A man in the small city of Dripping Springs, Texas (just west of Austin), caused a stir at a school board meeting this week by stripping down to his underwear.
At the moment, the Dripping Springs Independent School District has a policy that states wearing a face mask is optional for the upcoming school year.
Dad James Akers, who has three children that have been through the local school system, was allowed 90 seconds to speak at the meeting. He decided to make a point about how people are expected to follow rules and stick to social norms, and that wearing a mask should be considered a current social norm because of Covid.
“At work they make me wear this jacket,” he said, pulling it off. “I hate it. They make me wear this shirt and tie,” Akers continued. “I hate it.” He continued to take off items of clothing.
He went on to claim that on the way to the meeting, he’d ran three stop signs and four red lights, adding “I have every right to drive as fast as I want to.”
As he removed his undershirt and dropped his pants, he said that arriving at the meeting, he’d parked in a space for handicapped drivers. This elicited both cheers and jeers from some in the audience, according to the Fort Worth-Star Telegram.
Two police offers stood nearby, ready to move should Akers take his strip routine any further, but he stopped when he reached his underwear.
Akers said that stop signs may be inconvenient, but they save lives.
“It’s simple protocol, people. We follow certain rules. We follow certain rules for a very good reason.”
His point made, Board president Barbara Stroud hammered her gavel and asked him to put his clothes back on.
“Mr. Akers I understand — I believe you’re a swimmer — but if you wouldn’t mind putting your pants back on for a comment, that would be appreciated.”
You can watch a clip of his speech below.
Akers later told KXAN that wearing a mask was just another of those “common sense” decisions everyone should make in order for society to function effectively.
Texas has been battling a surge in Covid cases in recent weeks. Like in Florida, some have questioned the actions of the state’s Governor, Greg Abbot (R), in his handling of the pandemic. Legislation passed a few months ago effectively banned hospitality venues from asking about the vaccine status of customers.
Yesterday, Abbot also updated an order banning vaccine mandates by any state entity. The order had previously targeted “emergency approval” vaccines. After the FDA granted the Pfizer vaccine full approval this week, Abbot – who has himself recently recovered from Covid-19 – updated the order to cover all vaccines.