Anti-mask protesters force lockdown at Coeur d’Alene School District office

COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho — Anti-mask protesters forced the Coeur d’Alene School District office to go into lockdown Friday.

The protesters originally gathered outside of a school board special meeting that was intended to discuss the possibility of implementing a district-wide mask mandate. The meeting was called in response to the rising COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in North Idaho.

However, because of the large crowd, the district postponed the meeting just minutes before it was set to start. The district said there were too many people and they wanted to keep them safe. They also had received reports of fights outside.

When protesters were unable to get into the meeting, they went to the district office and into the lobby.

Coeur d’Alene Police were called to the scene. The crowd yelled at them.

The school district sent a letter out to families Friday night responding to the events that took place. In it, they thanked law enforcement for making sure board members and everyone else working in the buildings were safe.

The letter said in part, “As the board was unable to conduct its meeting today, there has been no change in our operating status. A mask requirement is NOT in place. We continue to strongly recommend masks. There has been no decision on rescheduling today’s board meeting. As always, we will provide updates on any changes in our operations, including Covid mitigation strategies. We are aware of a rumor circulating that the District has secretly adopted a mask mandate. That is, of course, false. We continue to strive to be open and transparent in our decision-making, from the Board on down. Through the Board’s commitment to keeping in place open comments at all regular Board meetings, and through Superintendent Hocker’s implementation of community forums, there is a demonstrated history of welcoming constructive and civil input from our families and the community. This has not changed.

Today, however, our Board was prevented from conducting District business because of serious safety concerns at that location. District employees were forced to shelter inside their place of work. This was a distressing situation for many of that inside. Our disappointment in today’s events is profound. We will work in the coming days to address these concerns as they apply to all of us in District 271. We ask you to join us in finding positive ways to move forward in a safe, civil and productive manner. We will continue to emphasize our shared commitment to the safety of all in our District, especially our students, but also our employees and the volunteers who serve on the Board.”

 

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