Scottsdale Unified School District board meeting ended after chaos over mask policy

Posted at 8:04 AM, May 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-19 15:26:11-04

SCOTTSDALE, AZ — A Scottsdale school board meeting ended abruptly Tuesday night after a chaotic disagreement over the district's mask policy.

The meeting, which was live-streamed online, starts off with a reminder that per Scottsdale Unified School District policy, everyone must wear a face covering at all times while on district property and campuses.

"Respectfully, I know there are many differing views on this... if you could please put your mask on, we would appreciate it," Board President Jann-Michael Greenburg says to the audience. He urges anyone who does not want to wear a mask to move to the overflow room.

In the background, you can hear people in the audience yelling and saying, "No masks! No masks!"

The recording stops and then the video starts again about 10 minutes later when the board announces the meeting will be recessed and held at a later date.

"It's really disappointing to me 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 the school district expectations for masks....we've had people who have had to leave tonight because they felt uncomfortable," Superintendent Dr. Scott Menzel says.

The statement is met by further yelling and booing before the meeting is officially ended.

RELATED: City of Scottsdale to remove mask requirements following new CDC guidance

SUSD sent a letter to parents in mid-April saying, "while we know there are people who would like us to remove the mask requirement now, SUSD’s 15 zip codes remain in the Substantial transmission category and the number of cases has been slowly increasing over the past few weeks. Accordingly, it is the expectation that students and staff will continue to wear masks while on school property, with the previously noted exceptions for recess and physical education, in order to ensure we end the school year strong and in-person."

On Wednesday, the Scottsdale Unified School District released a statement pointing to Govenor Ducey's Executive Order rescinding an order requiring face masks at school.

Part of the April 19 Executive Order states, "K-12 school districts and charter schools still maintain the right to institute and enforce policies to mitigate against COVID-19 spread, including the use of masks.”

Scottsdale Unified School Distrct followed that by saying, "We are maintaining that right. Our last day of the school year is a week from tomorrow, May 27. We do not anticipate making changes to our visitor policy before then."