12-Year-Old Fights for Mask Mandate in Schools | 22 Words

A twelve-year-old girl from Jacksonville, Florida is fighting for a mask mandate in schools.

Lila Hartley decided to step up and write a letter to the school board pushing for mandatory masks after she heard Duval County Public Schools said they wouldn't require masks for the upcoming school year.

"I would like to encourage the requirement of masks at school in Duval County. Right now, especially while the Delta variant is surging, hospitalizing, and killing so many kids. I really believe masks should be required," she wrote in the letter, which was shared first with Good Morning America.

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"This pandemic is still around," Lila told GMA when she was asked why she wrote the letter. "People are still dying and getting sick. Masks save lives, and I don't want my brother to die."

The adorable little Lila loves her brother so much that she wants to make sure he's looked out for...

So, while Lila and her family are vaccinated, her little sibling Will, ten, is still too young to receive a jab against the coronavirus disease, meaning Lila is feeling a little more protective over his health and safety.

"I am so worried that if masks are not required my brother could go to school one day and the next to be dying in the hospital," the letter continued. "We are siblings so we have our rivalries but I don't know what I would do if he died, especially if it was caused by a place that means so much to him, school."

Will also wears masks to protect himself and others around him and he finds himself reminding his friends to wear theirs too.

"Masks do help us," he told GMA. "I wear my mask because even though the rest of my family is vaccinated, there's still a chance they can get it."

And in a bid to try and ensure masks are to be made a permanent requirement, for some time in the future anyway, Lila emailed a copy of her letter to the board on July 26th... But only 1 board member has replied to her heartwarming letter as of yet!

"Masks save lives, that's a fact. People who are vaccinated should wear a mask, people who are unvaccinated should especially wear a mask," she wrote in her letter.

"I and many others would feel so much safer if masks were required and if they are required, less people may contract COVID, and therefore less people will get really sick or die.

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"Hospitals are expensive, quarantining kids need supervision which could really hurt struggling families who live paycheck to paycheck, parents can't afford to lose their jobs because the district was not enforcing mask-wearing.

"In conclusion, masks should be required to keep students, teachers, staff, and families safe," she finished in her letter.

On August 3rd, the Duval County school board held a meeting to decide whether or not it would require masks, and while Lila and her brother demonstrated with a number of others outside the meeting in favor of masks, Lila and Will's father along with other parents, educators, and medical professionals, voiced their own concerns inside.

"We wanted to support dad because he's working hard," Lila voiced.

The board voted 5-2 in favor of requiring masks with parental opt-outs.

But even though the results of the vote made things better, it still leaves a lot of room for people to not wear them.

In a statement provided to ABC News, Duval County School Board Chairwoman Elizabeth Anderson said: "The Board's emergency policy decision Tuesday night creates the best balance between our deeply held responsibility for the safety and welfare of students and staff while fully respecting parental choice under the Governor's order."

"It's important to wear masks because it keeps each other safe," Lila, who one day hopes to be secretary of state, said.

"Masks are important so we can continue to enjoy in-person school and not have to hurt families and staff by this terrible virus. Sincerely Lila Hartley."