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How to deal with bullying over your child's face mask choice

“We can reasonably disagree and still be respectful,” said one clinical psychologist.

INDIANAPOLIS — The school year is just starting and there are already debates surrounding requiring face masks for students.

Some districts - like IPS - are requiring all students to be masked. Others are leaving it to parents to decide.

The decision on whether to mandate face masks in schools has been a hot topic at school board meetings across Indiana. Opinions vary on whether kids should be required to wear them.

“A lot of us have strong feelings about this issue,” said Dr. Brett Enneking, a clinical psychologist at IU Health.

Enneking said with some kids wearing masks and some not, schools and parents could see bullying occur over the issue.

RELATED: IPS begins new school year with masks required in school

"There’s a lot of potential for this to become something kids are bullied for, but there’s also a lot of other times and things that kids are bullied for as well,” Enneking said, adding that the important thing for parents to let their kids know they’re there to support them.

For kids getting bullied about wearing or not wearing a mask, Ennerking says it's important to remember "You can always tell them to stop. You can always talk to a trusted adult, and that’s important to talk to a trusted adult.”

For grownups, the debate over masks is turning into a chance to teach your kids an important life lesson.

“We can reasonably disagree and still be respectful," Ennerking said. "There doesn’t have to be that bullying experience."

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