Fights broke out and at least one person was handcuffed after a Missouri school board voted unanimously to mandate masking in schools amid a surge of coronavirus cases in the area.
The scuffles were just the latest in a wave of backlash around the country as anti-mask parents object to schools tightening COVID protocols, in light of spiking cases and limited options for protecting unvaccinated children during in-person learning.
It’s a scene we’ve watched play out in school board meeting rooms across the country since the beginning of August — and the backlash from anti-vax and anti-mask parents has become increasingly violent in recent weeks as more and more students are forced to quarantine over COVID exposure in mask-optional school districts.
“Several people were throwing fists” after the Pleasant Hill school board approved the mask requirement, local ABC affiliate KMBC reported. Sheriff’s deputies on the scene reportedly broke up the fighting and handcuffed at least one person.
Officers from two law enforcement agencies, the Pleasant Hill Police Department and the Cass County Sheriff’s Department, responded to the scene.
One person was detained at the Pleasant Hill High School parking lot “for an altercation with a subject taking a video on their phone,” Pleasant Hill police were told by county sheriff’s deputies, the police department said in a statement.
Law enforcement identified three people involved in the altercation. The police subsequently issued municipal citations for disorderly conduct, according to the statement.
“All subjects in the school parking lot were then dispersed and asked to leave school property,” the statement added.
A notice for the meeting posted Friday noted the mandate was being considered due to the amount of community spread impacting students.
“We currently have over 200 students in quarantine due to close contact with a positive,” the notice read.
The district currently has 21 recorded COVID cases as of Monday. Those cases, in the first nine days of the school year, outnumber the first half of the last school year, according to KMBC.