“Ladies and gentlemen, we ask that you put your masks on.”
That request was delivered over and over again until eventually Scottsdale Unified School District was forced to abruptly end its board meeting Tuesday.
It will now be rescheduled for this coming Monday but this time, it will be held virtually.
This was the start of an uproar, with just days left until the end of the school year. Scottsdale Unified is receiving backlash for their mask mandate - some from parents, but most are not even part of the community.
"People wishing aids on our board members and our families, wishing ill-will in some ways that are pretty disgusting,” says Dr. Scott Menzel, Scottsdale USD, superintendent.
Superintendent Menzel addressed concerns Friday, alongside Scottsdale Police Chief Jeff Walther.
Walther says he has seen an uptick in chatter since then and has alerted the district to other potential plans for disruptions. Ones that could attract even larger crowds.
"There are groups and individuals who are now going around from school board meeting to school board meeting to school board meeting, in the Valley and in the state, with the goal of disrupting,” Chief Jeff Walther, Scottsdale Police Department.
Menzel has decided to avoid any further conflict by rescheduling the meeting virtually. The hope is to give parents and students a chance to be heard
“I think one of our opportunities here is to teach our students and our young people how to have civil conversations around differences of opinions and ideas. How do we separate fact from fiction?” says Superintendent Menzel.
Scottsdale police say they have seen tensions related to mask issues over the past year but that it is increasing even more now. This is just the latest venue
"We saw some of the same folks on the 18th at the Scottsdale Unified School District board meeting that they saw in Peoria, that they saw elsewhere. Some of the same names, same people,” says Chief Walther.
Anti-maskers were also among those who rallied at a Vail School District board meeting just a few weeks ago. It also became heated and ended in a cancellation. Chief Walther says we need to come together before this results in even more violence community-wide.
“So at some point, we're going to have to have greater dialogue in this collectively, so we can resolve some of these issues. Otherwise, it's only gonna get worse for us,” says Chief Walther.