After an angry confrontation, Coeur d’Alene district sets mask issue aside

Jennifer Brumley

The Coeur d’Alene School District will not take up a possible mask mandate, after a confrontation outside district headquarters forced trustees to cancel a meeting last week.

“The board does not want to see any disruption in the educational environment of our students,” board chair Jennifer Brumley said in an email to parents.

Trustees were scheduled to revisit the mask issue Friday. But trustees abruptly called off the meeting after protesters gathered outside the meeting room. Protesters threatened at least one woman, the Coeur d’Alene Press reported.

The sheer size of the crowd was another issue: the 200 protesters could have swamped a meeting room with room for 72 attendees.

“I felt everyone’s safety was at issue and based on that I chose to not hold the meeting,” Brumley wrote. “After individuals outside were made aware the meeting was not going to occur they were not happy. Most of what happened after this is recorded by news media and was seen by those at the district office. This was not a laughable or funny situation. I was tearful and truly saddened. I was concerned for my safety, after the fact, in light of the anger over cancelling the meeting.”

Trustees will hold future meetings via Zoom, Brumley said, after receiving emails that suggested more than 100 people planned to show up for meetings. Trustees are scheduled to meet again on Monday.

Coeur d’Alene trustees voted earlier this month to recommend — but not require — masks in schools. The 3-2 vote came days after overwhelmed Panhandle hospitals received the go-ahead to adopt crisis standards of care, which could result in rationed health care.

Trustees did not go into Friday’s ill-fated meeting with a plan to require masks, Brumley said.

“The board has not and did not decide to mandate masks despite rumor and conjecture,” she wrote in her email.

 

Kevin Richert

About Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on KIVI 6 On Your Side; "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television; and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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