‘That shows a lack of judgment’: Finch Elementary parent wants more transparency with mask incident

SPOKANE, Wash. — Parents of Finch Elementary School students say they’re worried about the example educators at the school are setting.

The concern comes as several staff members at Finch Elementary were forced to leave the school on Tuesday. They refused to wear a mask, including the school principal. Parents are raising concerns about their decisions.

The principal, Shane O’Doherty, admits in a statement to 4 News Now that he did not wear a mask. When he was told to put it back on, O’Doherty claims he did. However, he was still asked to leave.

His decision is concerning for Finch parents like David Carlson.

“As the leader of this school, as the principal, you have to set the tone. You have to say, ‘rules are important,'” Carlson said.

Carlson feels the decision not to follow Gov. Inslee’s mandate goes beyond making a political statement.

“While he’s on the clock, while he’s at school saying ‘I’m not going to wear a mask’ — that’s troubling,” Carlson explained. “That shows a lack of leadership ability. That shows a lack of judgment.”

In a statement, O’Doherty said in part,

“I cannot stress enough that I am very concerned for our young people, their education, and their social and emotional well-being. I strongly believe our students are being negatively impacted by wearing masks on each of these levels.”

You can read his full statement here. 

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Finch Elementary principal explains why he protested mask mandate

Spokane Public Schools says it handled the situation, but Carlson feels there is a lack of transparency.

“We would like more transparency and some real, strong action to say this is not what we expect out of our leaders in our schools,” he said.

A letter was sent to families about the incident. However, Carlson says parents did not get it until late Tuesday afternoon when the incident happened at 10:30 a.m.

When Carlson tried to call the number provided on the e-mail to ask questions, he said no one answered.

He sent an e-mail to the SPS’s superintendent Dr. Adam Swinyard. Carlson also filed a public records request.

“I do want to know how long has this been happening, who was in on this, who knew about what, when and where were they communicating about this,” he explained.

O’Doherty and at least one other educator are on administrative leave. Carlson says he wants the principal out.

READ: Spokane educator explains why she refused to wear a mask at Finch Elementary

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