Metro Nashville School Bus Driver Says She Cannot Comply with COVID-19 Mask Mandate


A Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) bus driver has informed her employer she “cannot in good conscience comply” with the school system’s new COVID-19 mask mandate.

That school bus driver, Brenda Mason, filed a letter Monday stating she disagrees with the mask policy and must object.

“Most MNPS drivers will experience extreme heat driving non-air conditioned buses. When temperatures outside exceed 85 degrees, what is the temperature inside the bus? We are also being asked to keep our windows down, however this is not always possible. Children will not leave the windows down when it is cold or raining,” Mason wrote in her letter.

“I can speak personally to the fact that while I am wearing a mask my breathing is hindered, and I often feel nauseous and overheated. According to Title 21 I have the right to refuse to wear a face mask for health and safety concerns. I have consulted with an attorney regarding this matter. I have been committed to performing my job duties as an MNPS employee for 16 school years. I hope I will not be prevented from continuing to serve the parents and students of Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools.”

MNPS spokesman Sean Braisted told The Tennessee Star by email Monday that the school system has required masks on school buses since the start of the pandemic.

“The MNPS Transportation department will work with this employee to address any specific concerns, but masks will remain a requirement for all students and staff when school resumes tomorrow,” Braisted said.

“The mask requirement is consistent with the CDC’s order requiring masks on all forms of public transportation and the recommendations for universal masking in schools.”

Mason said in her letter that she operates a 72-person capacity school bus that weighs up to 15 tons, so she must perform her job to the best of her physical ability.  She said safety is her number one priority.

“The Metro Public Health Department’s Mask Order, updated April 9, 2021 states that there is a safety exception for those operating heavy equipment,” Mason wrote.

“It is unconscionable that school bus drivers are being forced to perform their duties at a potentially reduced level of safety. Also, masks interfere with driver visibility as they often cause eyeglasses to fog up, and masks hinder the ability to communicate effectively and safely with the children.”

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]





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One Thought to “Metro Nashville School Bus Driver Says She Cannot Comply with COVID-19 Mask Mandate”

  1. LM

    Good for you Ms. Mason.