MALDEN (CBS) — Dozens of parents gathered outside of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education building on Tuesday to demand that masks not be required in schools. Police blocked some parents from joining the monthly board meeting, which had a limited number of people allowed inside.

“I’m here to speak in front of DESE today to demand that they unmask our children while inside the school buildings,” said Marshfield resident Ashleigh McKinnon, who was able to speak at the meeting. She has a six-year-old daughter.

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“Our children are not there to make you feel safe,” McKinnon continued. “It’s our job as adults and parents to ease the fears of children and we have done nothing for 14 months but to tell children ‘you’re the disease, you’re the virus, you’re going to kill your grandmother.’ Enough. We need to stop.”

Nicole Murdoch was at the rally outside. “I’m not anti, I’m just pro-choice. If someone wants to I totally, totally appreciate that and respect them, but I also feel like we should all have the right to choose,” she explained.

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“I think it’s blatantly child abuse, I don’t agree with it and I think I should have an option not to send them to school with a mask,” another woman said.

The CDC currently recommends universal and correct mask wearing inside schools.

The state has relaxed some mask requirements at schools. They’re no longer required at outdoor recess or for sports outside.

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Watertown schools are still requiring students and staff to wear masks outside, even though the state eased its mandate last week.

CBSBoston.com Staff