BY KARISSA MILLER

Dozens of parents and community members refused to leave the meeting room at the close of the Iredell-Statesville Schools Board of Education meeting Monday night in protest of the school board’s mask mandate and quarantine/exclusion rules.

One protester raced up to the podium and took over the microphone at the end of the meeting in a coordinated effort. Protesters also handed out copies of emails with district leaders and COVID-19 masks literature.

“I’m putting you all on notice. Each of you have broken laws,” she accused the board as she began to read her speech.

“Everyone has to go!” yelled one of the Troutman police officers on duty. 

A few people left the room while others began shuffling around.

When officers noticed that people were staying, the lights were turned off in the boardroom. However, the crowd remained.

Another officer stated: “The meeting is over. You’re now trespassing and could be arrested.”

One man replied: “We’re not moving. You’re going to have to arrest all of us. Of course, we want that to happen.”

Some in attendance began taking videos with their phones, while others listened as the speaker continued to read her speech.

The protesters were associated with Free the Smiles, a group that has stated parents — not public health and school officials — should decide whether children are masked or unmasked in public schools.

On more than one occasion, members of the group have expressed their disappointment with I-SS Chief of Strategic Planning and Student Services Boen Nutting, who has endured criticism while reporting COVID-19 data each month.

Kelli Harris, who speaks on behalf of the group at various meeting, handed out papers on a mask study stating that, “Boen Nutting wouldn’t allow our board members to know about. I have the email right here as well.”

At the end of their demonstration, the protesters started cheering and some yelled, “You’ve been served.”

No one was arrested and the group eventually left the building.

School Board Chairman Todd Carver called the group’s demonstration “theatrics and a show.”

“They could have easily delivered that copy of information to us. It was after our meeting adjourned — they didn’t disrupt our meeting in any shape or form. They said what they wanted to say. I got up and went to the bathroom,” he said.

Earlier that night, the Board of Education gave the group 12 minutes to give a presentation.

“We wanted to hear both side and thought it was the fair thing to do,” Carver said.

Iredell Health System officials also gave a 12-minute presentation.

9 thoughts on “Critics of mask mandate take over I-SS boardroom, refuse to leave after meeting adjourns

  1. We the People are tired of the “establishment” using children as pawns for monetary gain. Where is the empathy for our children? We all know masks don’t work, they know it, and they know we know it. It is time to quit playing games and do the right thing or resign!

    • Angela Bailey says:

      Cathy, this story was greatly misrepresented. These are not stupid people. Quite the opposite, in fact. They have done their research and know what they are talking about. What this story doesn’t tell you, is that the ISS school board was being served notice that their bonds would be revoked and they would be held liable if these masks cause irreparable damage to our children. It is a legal process that is being used all over the country right now. I, for one, do not want my grandchildren being muzzled in school. It’s been going on long enough and it’s time to put an end to it!

      • These people are ignorant and, as Cathy said, stupid. God help the future of this country if these people are procreating.

  2. Lol, they think it’s theatrics and show! Maybe they should take the parents seriously! We are done with them ruining our kids school experiences and learning opportunities! Wake up school boards!

  3. Wow!!! The meeting was not over, the board of scared little chickens started scrambling and running about when they heard what was being served to them. And the police were in the wrong here majorly. Public meeting, public knowledge, and cutting off someone speaking when they had plenty of time left. END THE MANDATE… wake up people!!!! This is a joke!!!!

  4. Where has all this “masks don’t work” energy been my whole life in regards to covering your mouth when you cough? That “doesn’t work” either, but ideally it helps reduce the distance and quantity of germs being expelled, so we do it. I’ve never seen any of these folks decry the TYRANNY of putting your hand over your mouth. SURE, it’s only when you cough. FOR NOW. That’s how it starts! wAkE uP pEoPLe!

    If yall had a strong case to make, you wouldn’t be resorting to these theatrics. You’re not freedom fighters. You’re tantruming toddlers.

  5. Now there’s a mature retort from Tron! Yes, politely not coughing directly into someone’s face is exactly the stronghanded measures being discussed here. Misdirection is a last vestige when one doesn’t have a good argument. Parents do not want children wearing masks because it is not preventing Covid-19 transmission and can be harmful. It’s that simple. Distorting the issue at hand will not make it go away.

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