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Stripped down to a pair of swim trunks at Monday’s school board meeting

Stripped down to a pair of swim trunks at Monday’s school board meeting

Stripped down to a pair of swim trunks at Monday’s school board meeting

DRIPPING SPRINGS, TX — A Texas dad recently took off his pants in an unusual tack intended to persuade officials at his son's school to require students and staff to put on their masks as the delta variant of the coronavirus surges across the state.

Gov. Greg Abbott banned school districts and other government entities from imposing mask mandates in an executive order last month. But some parents, including James Akers, believe local school boards should defy the order and pass local policies that better protect student and staff.

To make his point, Akers — whose child is a high schooler in the Dripping Springs Independent School District, about 25 miles east of Austin — stripped down to a pair of swim trunks at Monday's school board meeting.

And along the way, Akers offered a lesson on what is and what isn't acceptable attire in a pandemic — notwithstanding Zoom meetings, where a mullet wardrobe of "business on the top, party on the bottom" has a place.

"I do not like the government or any entity — just ask my wife — telling me what to do," Akers said, according video of the school board meeting broadcast by news station KXAN. "But sometimes I've got to push the envelope a little bit, and I've just decided that I'm going to not just talk about it, but I'm going to walk the walk."

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With that, he began taking off his clothes, peppering his burlesque show with often-sarcastic comments on other measures that exist to protect the public.

"At work, they make me wear this jacket. I hate it. They make me wear this shirt and tie. I hate it," he said as the clothing came off. "On the way over here, I ran three stop signs and four red lights.

"I almost killed somebody out there. But, by God, it's my roads, too. So I have every right to drive as fast as I want to."

After shedding his jacket and shirt, Akers stood at the microphone and addressed school board members seated on the raised platform before him.

"It's simple protocol, people," he said, unbuttoning and dropping his pants to wolf whistles and applause. "We follow certain rules for a very good reason."

Related: Masks Required In School Dress Code In Defiance Of Gov. Abbott
School board President Barbara Stroud was unfazed.

"Mr. Akers," she said, "I understand —I believe — you're a swimmer, but if you would mind putting your pants back on for a comment, that would be appreciated."

Akers did as he was asked.

The school board members didn't budge on their mask guidance, which encourages but does not require students, staff and visitors wear masks.

"We strongly encourage staff, students, and visitors to voluntarily follow the local health order and wear masks when on district property, especially at our elementary campuses where students do not yet have an option to be vaccinated," the district said. "We recognize the contradicting guidance on the mask mandates from local and state officials."

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