On the day of his first-grade school photos, 6-year-old Mason told his mom he was excited to show the camera his new “big boy” smile. He recently lost four teeth.

But when the photographer asked Mason to take off his navy mask before snapping his picture, Mason politely declined, his mom Nicole Peoples told The Washington Post.

“My mommy told me not to take my mask off,” Mason replied.

“Are you sure you don’t want to take it off?” the photographer asked.

“No, my mommy seriously told me to keep it on unless I’m eating and far away from everybody,” Mason said.

Perhaps he could take it off for two seconds so she could snap a quick photo, the photographer suggested.

“No, I always listen to my mommy,” Mason said.

The Nevada first-grader said “cheese,” but he wore his mask through the entire photo shoot.

“He stood his ground,” Peoples, 33, told The Post.

Masks in schools have become a flash point across the country as the United States battles another surge in coronavirus cases amid the highly transmissible delta variant. Some schools have implemented mandatory mask policies, while others have said they are recommended but not required. (Masks are mandatory in Mason’s school, his mom said.)

Before this year’s in-person classes began, Peoples told her son about the covid safety measures she expected him to follow, she said. Mason, who lost his great-grandfather to covid earlier this year, agreed not to drink from the water fountain, to keep his mask on except when eating or drinking, and to regularly wash his hands, Peoples told The Post.

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The morning of Sept. 7, Mason put on one of his best shirts and showed Peoples how big he planned to smile, his mother said.

“He was super excited,” she told The Post. “I was expecting him to go to school and take his beautiful picture. I thought that he’d show that big, beautiful smile. Instead, he came home with the cutest story.”

When Peoples and her husband received the picture earlier this week, the couple agreed they had to buy it, she said.

“The photo is just a great memory of what’s going on and how the kids are overcoming it,” Peoples said. She continued: “It has a really special meaning because it shows how proud he was to listen and to follow my directions. Even when I wasn’t there to remind him, he remembered.”

She added: “He remembers to wears his mask, and he does it proudly because he cares and because he doesn’t want to see anybody sick. I hope this does serve as a message to other people, to use this little 6-year-old boy as a symbol to remember to wear your mask out of the kindness of your heart.”

Peoples said she plans to hang Mason’s school portrait in the center of their family photo wall.