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School board ends meeting as parents protest mask mandate

April 28, 2021 GMT

VAIL, Ariz. (AP) — A Tucson-area school board ended a study session and then canceled a scheduled regular meeting after dozens of parents protested the district’s refusal to lift its mask mandate aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19.

After Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey on Aug. 19 lifted a statewide mask mandate for schools, the Vail Unified School District was among many in Arizona that kept its mandate in place and the board planned to review its policies Tuesday.

An afternoon study session was underway when protesting parents, many not wearing masks, pushed their way into the board room, KGUN-TV reported.

Pima County sheriff’s deputies were summoned to help keep order before the board adjourned the study session and then canceled the scheduled evening regular meeting.

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Many protesters initially refused to leave the district’s headquarters even after the cancellation.

Parents who still insisted on speaking said their parental rights had been trampled and they weren’t given a voice on Vail’s policies, KVOA-TV reported.

Before eventually leaving, some protesters held an impromptu unofficial election, selecting their own board that voted to rescind the mask policies, the Arizona Daily Star reported.