Charlie Kirk and Local High School Students Host Anti-Mask Rally in St. Charles

Charlie Kirk and local high school students spoke to a packed Arcada Theatre in opposition of masks in schools.

Devin Oommen, Staff Writer

As Illinois residents await a possible end to mask mandates and watch as the state battles in court to continue its mandate in schools, conservative commentator Charlie Kirk’s Turning Point USA hosted a “No Forced Masks Rally” in St. Charles on Feb. 16.

Charlie Kirk addresses his audience at the Arcada Theatre. (Devin Oommen)

Kirk spoke to a full theater, outlining his issues with mask mandates in schools. 

“More damage has been done to humanity in the last 100 years from people who thought they were doing the right thing….Very few people consciously think they are committing evil. Very few people. Stalin thought he was doing the right thing. So did Mao. They didn’t go to sleep like, yeah, I’m doing the wrong thing,” Kirk said.  

Kirk, who grew up in the Prospect Heights area and attended Wheeling High School, said parents who want kids to wear masks in school are doing so under a false pretense that they are doing the right thing.

“A lot of suburban parents, you know some of them, are like, ‘No, this is the right thing for my kid. Masking them, not having them be able to see their friends. I’m saving their life.’ It warrants a question of how did they come to that conclusion.”

Kirk’s message to the audience was that masking children in schools is a coordinated effort by elected officials to condition the current school-aged generation to stay silent and always comply with authority.

The event featured speeches from Thomas DeVore, who represents the teachers and families who were granted a temporary restraining order in their case against mask mandates in schools, and three local high school students.

Lyons Township High School Student Leslie Mendoza addresses the audience. (Devin Oommen)

The student speakers included Peter Christos, Samuel Philips and Leslie Mendoza who are from Glenbrook North High School, Niles West High School and Lyons Township High School, respectively.

The students said they faced bullying for their conservative views, and encouraged students listening not to comply with mask mandates in their schools.

“You let those in the media spread fear and panic over a virus that has a 99.9997% survival rate for our age demographic,” said Christos (There is no documented evidence for this statistic).

 The CDC provides a table showing risk factors for Covid-19 among age groups. The 18-29 age group has the largest cumulative number of Covid-19 cases and is used as a reference group. Compared to the 18-29 year old age group, the 5-17 year old age group tests positive at the same rate, is hospitalized at a rate less than 1x the rate of the 18-29 age group, and has reported deaths at a rate less than 1x compared to the 18-29 age group.

According to CDC, as of Feb. 19 there have been 87,998,838 positive Covid-19 cases and 912 deaths in the 5-17 age group. 

Glenbrook North High School Student Peter Christos addresses the audience. (Devin Oommen)

Christos told the audience about his experience leading students in a mask-less walk in the week prior and encouraged students listening to do the same.

As of Jan. 13, 2022 the CDC still encourages K-12 staff and students to wear masks in schools. A summary concerning the effectiveness of masks along with sources has also been listed on the CDC website. The studies show upwards of 80% blockage for people who are wearing masks and exhale virus particles, and show an increase of filtration of fine droplets and particles less than 10 microns, and in some cases 50% filtration of particles less than 1 micron for the mask wearer. 

“You are the reason that the pandemic will never end,” Christos said. “Because you are too afraid to stand up. To all my students out here, if I wanted to relay one message to you it’s this: Do not comply.”

The students included calls to action in their speeches for audience members to vote out progressive officials and to run for office themselves.

A family protests outside the Arcada Theatre. (Devin Oommen)

Earlier this month Sangamon county judge Raylene Grischow issued a TRO preventing the state from enforcing a mask mandate in schools. The state filed an appeal, which Judge Grischow dismissed in an order filed on Feb. 17. In the ruling Grischow wrote that schools are still able to enforce their own mask policies. 

Following the ruling, Hinsdale district 86 and Des Plaines District 63 have now made masks optional. 

Gov. Pritzker is expected to take the case to the Illinois Supreme Court. 

Turning Point USA is a non-profit organization. According to the groups website its mission is to identify, educate, train and organize students to promote freedom.