Surgeon fired after speaking up against student mask mandates at school board meeting

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by ALEC SCHEMMEL | The National Desk

A surgeon said he was fired after speaking up against a Minnesota school district’s new mask mandate for students, suggesting at a public school board meeting that families should make the decision whether to mask their children.

Who does God put in charge of these kids? Their parents,” Dr. Jeffrey Horak said at a Fergus Falls school-board meeting on Oct. 11. “God gave each one of these kids to their parents and they speak for them. They may be wrong, they may be dumb, they may be perfect in their decisions. But it’s still their responsibility. It’s not yours, God gave it to them, honor their wishes – either side of the fence.”

Nine days after speaking out against the new mandate at a public school board meeting, Horak said he was fired from his job with Lake Region Healthcare on Oct. 20.

I wasn’t given a reason nor was I aware of any issues or complaints about me,” Horak wrote in a public statement published by Fox KVRR in North Dakota. “The truth is, I don’t have any idea why I was fired. My contract states that they don’t have to tell me. I knew that when I signed it 15 years ago.

Lake Region Healthcare (LRH) issued a response to Horak arguing it was not his employer. “Dr. Horak is part of Lake Region Medical Group (LRMG), the partnership of providers that LRH contracts with,” they responded. “To be clear, in this case the LRMG Board made the decision about discontinuing Dr. Horak’s practice, not LRH. The reasons for any separation are among Dr. Horak and LRMG.”

LRH thanked Horak in their response, also published by KVRR, for his 16 years of service to their patients and organizations.

“The reasons for Dr. Horak’s separation are a confidential matter,” said Dr. Greg Smith, president of the Medical Group Board, the New York Post reported. “To be clear, this was a decision that was made by Dr. Horak’s peers who serve on the Medical Group Board, not by Lake Region Healthcare, the community-based hospital where Dr. Horak practiced General Surgery.”

Fergus Falls residents and community members rallied behind Horak at a local park on Monday, where he reportedly spoke to hundreds of supporters, according to the Post.

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