School board meeting disrupted immediately by mask protestors
As of 7:40 p.m., the meeting has reconvened and will continue with public comments.
The Albany County School Board has adjourned its meeting after just a few minutes, following outbursts by public commenters who refused to wear masks.
The public comment section at the outset of Wednesday’s meeting was set aside specifically for individuals who did not get to comment during last week’s meeting. Last week’s board meeting was also adjourned for a half-hour when anti-mask mandate protesters disrupted the meeting, shouting, swearing, whistling and howling over the County Public Health Officer as she addressed the audience via Zoom.
The disruptions at today’s meeting occurred almost immediately.
The board announced yesterday that it would only allow five individuals into the room at any one time. Each individual would be given two minutes to make their comment, and when the cohort finished, they would be ushered out and another five individuals would be given the space.
Chair Janice Marshall started to recount the events of last week’s meeting and was interrupted just minutes in by loud voices from outside the boardroom. Marshall called a recess that lasted about 20 seconds while order was restored.
But that order didn’t last long.
The first cohort included individuals who refused to abide by the school district’s current mask mandate.
“We are abiding by the mask mandate that was approved by the school board last week,” Marshall said. “I ask you all to leave who are not wearing masks.”
The commenters did not leave, nor mask, but instead started arguing with Marshall.
“Point of order: you do not have that authority,” said one of the commenters, who could not be seen on the YouTube stream. “We are exercising our right.”
Marshall then cited Wyoming State Statute 16-4-406:
“If any public meeting is willfully disrupted by a person or group of persons so as to render the orderly conduct of the meeting unfeasible, and order cannot be restored by the removal of the person or persons who are willfully interrupting the meeting, the governing body of an agency may order the removal of the person or group from the meeting room and continue in session, or may recess the meeting and reconvene at another location.”
The commenters were not persuaded.
“We have attorneys on this,” the commenter said. “You don’t want to bark up this tree.”
Marshall asked Superintendent Jubal Yennie if there were police present. Yennie replied there would be in a few minutes.
Marshall and the board members then adjourned the meeting for 30 minutes.