LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — An eight-year-old Clark County School District student suffered a severe asthma attack while in class but was told to put his mask back on, according to his mother. She is now seeking a medical exemption worried about what could happen to her son if he continues to wear a mask.
Currently, CCSD mandates all students must wear a face mask while inside a school building with a few exceptions.
“He took off his mask and told the teacher he couldn’t breathe and his teacher said, okay, but you need to put your mask back on, and you don’t tell someone who has a severe asthma attack to put their mask back on.”
Levay Kindred was livid with what her eight-year-old son said he went through at Lucille Rogers Elementary School. She says he suffered an asthma attack and wanted to take his mask off. When she heard about this, she went straight to the nurse’s office.
“I can breathe fine, but my son is the one who couldn’t breathe and I’m very upset,” she said.
Kindred says she never wanted her son to wear a mask at school because he suffers from severe asthma and has a heart defect that affects his breathing.
“His pulmonary branches were very undeveloped, so they put stints in his heart to open up and get more airflow into his lungs,” she said.
Under CCSD’s current mandate, all students must wear a mask inside unless they have a medical or developmental exemption.
Kindred didn’t have an exemption for her son at the time as she and the father are divorced, and he wanted to see how their child would do with a mask. After the asthma attack, she’s moving forward with getting one.
“I have to go through a 504 plan. I have to meet with the counselor, and I’m like I don’t this should have to be. You know he doesn’t have to wear one.”
Dr. Brian Labus with UNLV says in general, kids with asthma are able to wear facemasks without issues.
“It’s perfectly safe for someone with asthma to wear a mask. More importantly, people with respiratory problems are at higher risk of severe disease, so wearing that mask provides the protection to keep them out of the hospital,” he said.
However, he says in the few cases like severe asthma coupled with health issues that affect breathing…exemptions should be provided in those specific instances as determined by a doctor.
“We have to have these sorts of accommodations. We can’t make a blanket rule that works for everybody. It works for most people but if what we’re asking people to do, get vaccinated or wear a mask, are going to hurt those people, then obviously don’t want them to do it,” he said.
Kindred says she got a note from a cardiologist to allow her son to get an exemption. She wants to let people know her opposition to masking for her son is out of her concern for his well-being.
“Taking off his mask was saving his life you can’t just judge right away when people are resisting,” she said.
District policy does mention if a student gets an exemption, they have to make a plan through meetings with the school on the next steps to take.