Scottsdale school board meeting canceled over refusal to wear masks
May 19, 2021, 7:44 AM | Updated: 10:58 am
PHOENIX – A crowded Scottsdale school board meeting came to a loud, abrupt end Tuesday when some in attendance refused to wear masks.
The start of Scottsdale Unified School District Governing Board meeting was delayed then went into recess in an attempt to settle things down before it was canceled. A motion to recess was unanimously approved. No agenda items were addressed.
As the board members prepared to start the meeting, President Jann-Michael Greenburg asked that the district’s COVID-19 mask policy be observed. As he spoke, people could be heard telling him to take off his mask.
Greenburg pointed out there was an overflow room for people who didn’t want to wear masks and more grumbling followed.
“No masks!” several parents shouted.
“It’s not a mandate in Arizona,” a woman said.
Gov. Doug Ducey lifted the state’s mask mandate in late March, but said schools could make their own decisions. Scottsdale Unified previously announced it was keeping its mask mandate in place until the school year ends May 27, just seven workdays after the aborted board meeting.
“The governor of the state of Arizona and the Arizona Department of Health Services permits schools, especially public school districts, to require that masks be worn on its campuses and in its facilities. That is the law of the state of Arizona,” Greenburg said.
The meeting eventually got underway, with District Superintendent Scott Menzel saying it was disappointing “that on a night when we had intended to celebrate so much student success, we have had people in this room who have refused to comply with school district expectations for masks … we’ve had people who are being recognized this evening … who have had to leave because they felt uncomfortable.”
More disruptions immediately followed.
Menzel said security had tried to guide unmasked people to the overflow room but were unsuccessful.
Chanting from the attendees picked up and Greenburg motioned to recess the meeting, which was seconded.
“This meeting is recessed,” Greenburg said.
Menzel said in a letter released later that a follow-up meeting would be scheduled “with measures in place to ensure we can conduct business in a respectful environment.”