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Fed-up Ariz parents storm school board meeting, vote to remove mask mandate after board members flee

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Dozens of parents angered by an enduring mask mandate for children stormed a school board meeting in Vail, Ariz., on Tuesday after Gov. Doug Ducey lifted the state’s mask mandate on Monday for K-12 schools.

According to local reports, the board was set to discuss its mask policy, but members quickly canceled it and retreated from the building after more than 100 parents showed up to demand the mandate be lifted in accordance with the governor’s executive order.

One report put the number of parents at more than 200.

“The meeting was canceled before it was officially started when most of the crowd refused to wear masks or accept limits on the number of people allowed into the building,” Tucson.com reported.

Citing additional concerns about safety, someone from the Vail Education Board of Governors called 911, prompting a response of five deputies from the Pima County Sheriff’s Department.

Video of the encounters posted by KVOA correspondent Eric Fink shows one deputy telling a group of parents they have to leave the building, but the parents push back and refuse to depart.

KGUN reported that school board members claimed the crowd was uncontrollable and that’s why the decision was made to adjourn the meeting. However, the sheriff’s department disputed that, saying the board made the decision to cancel the meeting on their own.

“They [school board members] have the audacity to leave when we come here as peaceful parents to talk to them,” one angry parent is heard saying.

In the wake of the canceled meeting, parents who attended held an impromptu election and appointed a new board, which then quickly voted to end the mask mandate, though it’s not likely binding since they were not elected at the ballot box.

“Quite a night here in Vail. Some parents voted in the hallway to elect a new school board. This has no merit as school board members must be elected in an actual election,” Fink wrote on Twitter.

Nevertheless, assembled parents did just that, with one participant who documented it, including a confrontation with board members, posting the video to Facebook.

“Vail School Board violates Arizona open meeting law, refuse to hear from the people, and goes home. So, the People hold quorum, call their own meeting to order, elect a new School Board, and immediately vote to CANCEL the mask mandate – along with voting to disallow any medical procedure being forced on the children or employees,” the user wrote. “This is how you take back power from a tyrannical government.”

Ian Smith, co-owner of The Atilis Gym in New Jersey, which incurred more than $1.2 million in fines for refusing to shut down during the COVID-19 pandemic, echoed a similar theme in a Twitter post.

“100s of parents in Vail, AZ attended a School Board meeting, protesting mask mandates for schools. They would not leave. The Board was overwhelmed and outnumbered. They quit. The parents elected new members and immediately struck down mask mandates for kids. This is the way,” he wrote.

The ‘election’ was confirmed by KNST host Garret Lewis, who also called out one of the board’s Republican members.

“So the parents, under Robert’s Rules of Order, voted in a new school board. Then, the new members voted to end the mask requirement in Vail Schools. The old school board members revealed exactly who they are and that includes GOP LD 10 Chairman, Chris King,” he wrote, posting a video of the proceedings.

Jon Dougherty

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