COBB COUNTY, Ga. — Several Cobb County school parents say a school board member is emailing anyone who complains about the district’s mask policy a debunked video with mask and vaccine disinformation.
Parents said David Banks sent them the video, along with a note encouraging them to “listen to the real truth about masks.” The video features an Indiana doctor at a public meeting, where he claims that both masks and the COVID-19 vaccine don’t work to stop the virus.
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Multiple parents reached out to Channel 2 Action News Investigative Reporter Justin Gray about the e-mails. They did not know exactly how many Cobb parents got the video from Banks, a three-term Cobb school board member, but it appears they all got the same message.
Gray showed the video to Georgia State University public health professor Dr. Harry Heiman. Heiman is also a family doctor.
“It’s not even in the realm of fair or unfair,” Heiman said. “It is intentionally and grossly false and misleading.”
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Cobb county parent Alexandra Williams told Gray she was one of many who got the response from Banks.
“My response to him was, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me,’” Williams said. “I have been writing to the school board and the superintendent every day this week.”
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Tracie Ellis is the mother of an immunocompromised high school student in Cobb county. Ellis told Gray it took her just a few minutes of research to realize the video was misinformation.
“I’m questioning his compassion and care to the students as well, just by the way he responded with this video,” Ellis said. “Sending this video to parents.”
This is not the first time Banks has courted controversy during the pandemic.
A year ago, in a newsletter sent to parents, he called COVID-19 “the China virus.”
Gray reached out to the district about this latest email. The district issued a statement:
“Like any Cobb citizen, the comments of any individual board member should not be understood as official board policy or positions of the board as a whole. The district cannot speak to the video itself and encourages viewers to determine for themselves whether it is accurate or not.”
Cobb County is one of only two school districts in metro Atlanta not to require masks for students and staff.
“It makes me terrified that this is somebody who is representing the voice for the wellbeing and health of the environment my children have no choice but to go to everyday,” Williams said.
Gray reached out to Banks several times for a comment. He has not responded.
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