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Council Bluffs police call in backup at school board meeting

The vast majority of parents in the crowd were in protest of the district’s decision to mandate masks.
Published: Sep. 14, 2021 at 10:56 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Police called in backup Tuesday night at the Council Bluffs Community Schools board meeting after parents erupted in protest over district’s decision to mandate masks.

“It’s the parent’s right to make those medical decisions, not the teachers, not a judge,” said one of the parents who took to the podium, the vast majority objecting to the decision to require students, teachers, and staff to mask up.

The school district moved quickly after a federal judge put a halt to Iowa’s law banning schools from mandating masks on Monday. The district’s superintendent sent a letter to Council Bluff parents Tuesday notifying them of the masking requirements, which begin Wednesday.

The swift action caused a crowd at Tuesday night’s board meeting where tensions escalated quickly. One parent calling on the others from the podium. “Let’s vote to vote them out,” he yelled. Another parent rising from his chair pointing at the board, also yelling, as the crowd grew louder.

The board called for a recess and left the room. Police, asked the crowd to leave the room, as some parents challenged the officers and others continued arguing over the mandate.

Police eventually cleared the parents out of the board room and into the lobby; where the chaos continued. The crowd slowly dispersed outside of the building as police presence grew stronger. Outside the building roughly a dozen parents continued yelling, with the situation primarily turning into a dispute between a group of unmasked parents and one wearing a mask.

The crowd then moved into the parking garage where police presence once again grew stronger. It was from there that the crowd broke up and left.

The Council Bluffs Police Department said eight additional officers were called to the scene for what was designated as a “verbal disturbance.” No arrests were made.

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