WAYNE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — There was a heated meeting in Wayne over masks in schools.

Concerned citizens, staffers and parents did not hold back, giving the New Jersey Board of Education an earful about masks at a special meeting Thursday night.

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As CBS2’s Andrea Grymes reports, the board heard from parents and residents on both sides of the debate.

“Wearing masks and vaccinations are child abuse. Period,” one person said.

“By wearing masks, that’s one more line of defense against this incredible disease,” another person said.

READ MORE: New Jersey Students, Teachers Must Wear Masks In Schools This Fall

On the meeting’s agenda — if the board should send a letter to Gov. Phil Murphy asking him to rescind his executive order mandating masks in all schools across the state and instead make it optional.

Those in favor of the mandate argued it’s just another line of defense to make schools safer.

READ MORE: Parents, Educators Rally Outside City Hall To Demand Remote Learning Option

Those opposed say masks should be a choice, and many argued masks themselves are harmful to kids who have stayed largely immune from COVID.

“I think masks should be optional, especially since there’s no air conditioning in the school, and in the 90-degree weather, it makes it extremely hard to breathe,” eight grader Reese Wentink said.

“No one has done a long-term study on masks to see what the adverse effects are when we know, statistically, suicide is up, prescription medicine is up,” Wayne resident Robin Duhaime said.

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

“We feel it’s one of the best defenses that we have to protect our children because many of them cannot be vaccinated,” Wayne parent Katie Scheidt said.

In the end, the board voted not to send the letter to the governor.

Some tempers flared on the way out as police made sure everything stayed peaceful.

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Parents against the mandate told CBS2 they were incredibly disappointed in the board’s vote, with some even saying they’re considering moving.

Andrea Grymes