‘If you wouldn’t mind putting your pants back on’: Texas dad’s mask ‘protest’ draws laughter

‘If you wouldn’t mind putting your pants back on’: Texas dad’s mask ‘protest’ draws laughter

States across the nation have handled the novel coronavirus pandemic very, very differently, thanks to irresponsible Republican governors. It’s no surprise, then, that when it comes to masks in public schools, districts are handling the matter with varying degrees of concern for public health and safety.

Again thanks to their Republican leaders, Texas and Florida are concerning both residents and the rest of the country with bans against mask mandates. Some school districts have already defied governors, for example, and community protests have been aplenty. On Monday, one dad appeared at a school board meeting with a unique approach to get his message on the importance of wearing masks across: He stripped.

James Akers used his 90-second opportunity during the public comments section of a school board meeting for the Dripping Springs Independence School District (SDISD) by both removing his clothing and talking about the importance of coming around to wearing a mask.

Akers identified himself as a father of four, including one currently in high school in the district, located outside Austin, Texas. He said he doesn’t like anyone, including the government, to tell him what to do, but sometimes “I’ve got to push the envelope a little bit.” Then he said he’s not going to talk about it but “walk the walk.”

Akers expressed how much he disliked the jacket, shirt, and tie he has to wear to work and then removed all three items. He then sarcastically described driving recklessly by blowing past stop signs and through red lights before parking in a spot reserved for disabled folks. 

“I almost killed somebody out there,” he said. “But by God, it’s my road, too, so I have every right to drive as fast as I want to.”

By the time he stripped down to his swimsuit, he had added that people follow certain rules for a “very good reason” and said it’s just a “simple protocol.” 

People in the audience laughed, cheered, and gasped. Barbara Stroud, president of the board, asked him to put his pants back on for comments, which he did. He was still shirtless when he walked back to his seat. Though two police officers were present, and Akers did go over his 90-second allotment, he was not arrested, which is more than we can say for what happened to one dad in Alabama who was protesting an anti-trans bill. 

As some quick background, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott banned mask mandates in the state via executive order, though on Wednesday, a Dallas judge issued a temporary injunction against the ban. This means that mandates established by, say, school districts can remain in place for now.

While many school districts had already defied Abbott’s ban, masks have been optional for both staff and students at DSISD.

Sitting down for an interview with local outlet KXAN, Akers stressed his belief that while no one likes being told what to do, some rules make sense. 

“There are too many voices out there that I think are digging in for political reasons,” he told KXAN. “And absolutely just not thinking about the common-sense decisions we make every day.”

You can catch footage of Akers speaking—and stripping—at the school board meeting below.

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