Police in Utah are reportedly investigating possible criminal charges against a group of anti-mask protesters who sparked an early end to a school board meeting this week, interrupting speakers and chanting “No more masks!”
The chaotic scenes captured on video during Tuesday’s Granite School District Board of Education meeting come as Utah has issued a public health order still requiring masks to be worn inside all of its K-12 schools through June 15 or the end of the school year – whichever is sooner. Elsewhere, the state’s coronavirus restrictions and mask mandates have been lifted.
“One size does not fit all and adults who have higher risks should not project their fears or expect the youth to carry the burden of those fears,” Monica Wilbur, a woman who spoke against the school mask mandate during the public comments section of the meeting, is heard saying, drawing raucous applause from others in attendance.
Protesters are seen disrupting a Granite School District Board of Education meeting on Tuesday. (Granite School District)
Wilbur then implored the district to let parents “evaluate our individual circumstances regarding masks that are in the best interest of our families” — despite the state of Utah saying that school boards don’t have the legal authority to end the mask requirement in schools.
Following Wilbur’s speech, the fired-up crowd could be heard interrupting the next two speakers, including Democrat State Sen. Kathleen Riebe.
The meeting then erupted into chaos as the board in the Salt Lake City-area district called for an end to public comments after Riebe was at the podium.
“You haven’t signed up ma’am, we are going to close citizen participation,” a board member is heard telling a woman who was making her way to the front.
“You let a senator come up here and speak in the name of my children who you guys are abusing, are you serious?” the woman responds after grabbing the microphone.
A chant of “No more masks!” then breaks out as the board votes to adjourn the meeting early.
“End the mask mandate now!” another woman yells at district officials after getting out of her seat.
The board members and district employees were then escorted to their cars by four police officers who were acting as security during the meeting, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.
Granite School District spokesperson Ben Horsley told the newspaper that police are now “evaluating criminal charges against some of the main aggressors” and the district itself is “evaluating appropriate legal action.”
“After [Riebe’s] comments were over, a number of aggressive individuals came to the front and started grabbing the equipment and shouting at the board members directly, even coming up on to the stand and accosting board members,” Horsley added, noting that members’ nameplates were damaged.
In a separate interview with FOX13, Horsely called the crowd’s behavior “very disappointing and disheartening.”
“Granite District fundamentally believes and encourages a diversity of opinions when shared in respectful and civil manner and will continue to encourage civil discourse as a model for the children which we have stewardship over,” the district also said in a statement obtained by Fox News.
The district is set to end its school year on June 3.