Anti-Maskers Continue Making School Board Meetings Weird, Violent
For the past several weeks, school board meetings and back to school events across the country have been turned into battlegrounds between people who understand why masks are necessary for students in areas with increasing numbers of COVID infections and people who think that if God wanted people to wear masks during a pandemic, we would have been born with them on our faces.
That sounds like a joke, but it is not actually a joke. It is a literal thing a woman said, at one of these meetings in Birmingham, Michigan, while wearing glasses (and clothes!) we are pretty sure she was not born with.
This parent claims God didn’t intend for people to wear masks. https://t.co/iXzuSRVqfk— Steve Neavling (@Steve Neavling) 1629393649.0
When is it gonna end? Our children will never see the freedoms that we enjoyed growing up. They are not even free to breathe fresh air. If God wanted us to cover our mouth and nose, he would have made us that way
Now, I am an atheist, but I like to think that if God made it so we were born with masks, they would be less KN-95 and more plague doctor. Or maybe an Eyes Wide Shut kind of a thing. Oh! Or like the Wicker Man masks where they're all rabbits and shit. Just for the whimsy.
That being said, even if God was sitting up on his cloud shaking his fist and yelling, "Excuse me! I think I know what I am doing, plague-wise. I'm pretty big on the plagues. If I want you to survive, I'll let you know by not killing you! Please go on about your business as normal or I will have to send the locusts in, and trust me, you will not like the locusts" at the earth, that still would not be a good reason to not require masks at schools, because separation of church and state.
It would be lovely if that were the most horrifying thing to come out of this particular school board meeting, but it was not.
While a Black woman and Jewish woman were addressing the board about their support for the mask policy, a man in the audience flashed the Nazi salute and repeated "Heil Hitler." Two men behind him also uttered the phrase.
Police questioned the man during the meeting and are investigating whether he committed a crime.
Superintendent Embekka Roberson notified parents of the Nazi salute in a letter Wednesday and said the district has no tolerance for hate.
This should not be particularly surprising given the fact that hate groups like the Proud Boys have been showing up to these meetings as well and have recently directed a lot of their energy into yelling about masks. But it is really, really disappointing and shitty.
While many of those showing to these meetings are parents upset about their own kids wearing masks, not everyone who goes is even a parent. Last week, we were all treated to a viral video from Williamson County, Tennessee, of some very intense anti-maskers surrounding a car and screaming "We will find you!" and "You'll never be able to show your face in public again!" at the man inside.
Anti-mask demonstrators heckle masked people (some of whom are Drs/nurses) leaving 08/10/21 #Williamsoncountytn… https://t.co/puUxrrVOGc— Matt Masters (@Matt Masters) 1628659994.0
Turns out? One of the main anti-maskers screaming at the guy was not even a parent of a child at the school and does not even have kids.
WATCH: “That was in no way a threat.” 🙄 Rod Lunn, the childless man who threatened a dad at the WILCO board meeti… https://t.co/c0EMPB0vnw— The Tennessee Holler (@The Tennessee Holler) 1629426221.0
Rod Lunn, a jeweler and recipient of $41,000 in PPP loans, literally just showed up at the meeting to cause trouble. In an interview with WSMV, Lunn defended his actions, claiming that the driver in question nearly ran over a child, which made them want to yell at him even more about masks.
He also claimed he wasn't threatening the man, despite the whole "We know who you are!" thing. Which definitely does seem like a threat and certainly something he ought to have been pressed on in this interview.
It took one cell phone recording of Lunn shouting at a mask supporter to put him in the center of the national debate on masks in schools.
"You said some things in that video like 'We know who you are' and 'You'll never be allowed in public again,' would you categorize that as a threat to that person?" News4's Marissa Sulek asked Lunn in an exclusive interview with News4.
"That is in no way a threat," Lunn responded.
"How would you explain your behavior in that video?" Sulek asked.
"The reality is, it looks bad and I understand," Lunn says. "But we aren't being listened to. We're just being told what to do."
The other guy yelling, by the way, has been identified as Dwayne Larring, a Christian rock guitarist who was once fired by Kelly Clarkson mid-show for being an asshole and was a member of a Christian band called "Audio Adrenaline" — which is very much not the same thing as Vocal Adrenaline. It's not clear if he has kids in that district either, but it's good to know that someone screaming those threats is so incredibly holy.
Instead of opening this up to debate or even calling these things mask mandates — when it's clear this shit is not going to end well — what schools ought to do is what this one school in Texas did and just include masks in the dress code. Then, if people want to oppose that, they'll have to explain why that is any more ridiculous than anything else in the dress code. This will be very difficult, given that school dress codes never make any sense, like banning earrings on boys, banning spaghetti straps or requiring girls' shorts to no more than three-inches above the knee at a time when they are still growing and putting them in the very awkward position of trying to explain to the vice principal that things are shorter on taller people so they don't get sent home for the day for wearing what were definitely Bermudas a month ago. Good luck with that, because those rules are stupid as hell.
In conclusion, if you can run for your local school board, please run for your school board, because these people? They are definitely gonna be trying to take over some school boards.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse