Do you wear pants because you like them, or because you have to in order to be around other humans?
If you chose the second option, then you should also choose to wear a mask in public, according to a Texas father who bared it all to make that argument at a school board meeting this week.
James Ackers stripped out of his suit and down to his underwear during a Dripping Springs Independent School District Board meeting on Monday, in a creative attempt to argue for mandatory masking at his child’s high school. Masks are currently recommended across the board, but Akers is among the parents who want them to be mandatory.
“I’m here to say that I do not like government or any other entity — just ask my wife — telling me what to do,” Ackers said at the meeting, in a speech captured on video. “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.”
Akers then began to strip down in front of the gathered parents and school officials, removing one article of clothing after another while arguing his point.
“At work, they make me wear this jacket. I hate it,” he said, before removing the offending piece of clothing. “They make me wear this shirt and tie,” he continued, while taking them both off. “I hate it.”
Ackers also used his speech to sarcastically highlight the many rules that allow humans to function in a society — rules that keep everyone safe, so long as each individual sticks to them.
“On the way over here, I ran three stop signs and four red lights,” he said, in an attempt to mock the libertarian mindset that he was arguing against. “I almost killed somebody out there, but by God, they’re my roads too. So I have every right to drive as fast as I want to, make the turns that I want to.
The room filled with gasps, boos and cheers as his performance unfolded. The police officers providing security did not move toward Akers until his pants came off, The Daily Record reports.
“It’s simple protocol, people,” Akers said. “We follow certain rules for a very good reason.”
The school board’s President, Barbara Stroud, acknowledged Akers’ point before he could get down to his birthday suit.
“Mr. Akers, I understand, I believe you’re a swimmer, but if you wouldn’t mind putting your pants back on for a comment that would be appreciated,” she said.
Akers put his clothes back on and left without incident, according to reports.
He later complained about the politicization of masks in an interview with local broadcaster KXAN the following day.
“There are too many voices out there that I think are digging in for political reasons, and absolutely just not thinking about the common sense decisions we make every day to comply with everything from driving down the road and being safe and courteous to other drivers to not parking in handicapped spots,” Akers said. “All these rules that we’re given every day that we follow, because they make sense.”
The episode is one of several contentious incidents that have played out at school board meetings in different parts of the United States this summer, as parents have argued for and against the scientific advice that would keep their kids safe.
Last week, for example, an angry crowd of anti-mask parents threatened others outside a board meeting in Tennessee, after the board voted to revive its mandatory mask policy.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently recommend universal masking in schools for all adults and children involved, regardless of their vaccination status.
“Children should return to full-time in-person learning in the fall with layered prevention strategies in place,” the CDC says in its latest guidance document.
Akers’ child could not be reached for comment about their dad’s striptease stunt.
— With files from The Associated PressView link »