EVERGREEN PARK, Ill. (WLS) -- Parents, students and community members protested Tuesday after principal M. Jacob "Doc" Mathius of Queen of Martyrs in Evergreen Park was removed for ending the Catholic school's mask mandate.
"I actually pulled my daughter out of the school today and let them know she will not be returning until he is reinstated," said Andrew Tourville, father of kindergartener.
"We're really sad the archdiocese just let him go, he was standing up for our kids," said Meg Kinnerk, mother of sixth grader.
RELATED: School mask policies in chaos after ruling, parents plan protests
In one of two letters Mathius sent to parents, the educator said his decision to end the mask mandate was a difficult one.
"I perceive, for some time, the social-emotional toll that continuing COVID protocols have taken on many of our students," he wrote.
It's unclear if Mathius was placed on administrative leave or fired. The Archdiocese of Chicago would only say that they do not discuss personnel matters.
"I'm sick and tired of it. I feel bad for my kids. They're not getting a lunch. They're not allowed to do recess like they used to," said Brian Hely, community member.
Around 100 parents and students gathered to support Mathius outside the school at 103rd and Central Park Avenue. School districts around the state have been forced to reconsider their mask policies after a downstate court ruling against such mandates in public schools.
"I'm not anti-COVID," said Katie Haran, parent. "I'm not anti-anything. I'm just standing up for the rights of my children and don't think they need to be masked."