Man kicked out of Mitchell school board meeting over mask dispute

Published: Sep. 15, 2020 at 6:04 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - A School Board meeting in Mitchell Monday night began with a man being escorted out by police.

Mitchell School District has a mask mandate in place. After a man refused to wear a mask at the meeting and wouldn’t leave, the police were called in.

“We offered him a mask, first of all, a brand new paper mask or directed him that he would have to leave. So, he did not want to wear the mask and he refused to leave and so as a result, I had to have him removed by the police,” Mitchell Superintendent Joseph Graves said.

In a video of the incident, police can be heard asking the man to leave and him refusing.

After a while, the police officers grabbed the man and attempted to bring him out of the meeting. One of the officers unholstered his taser, but the taser was not used.

The man was escorted out of the meeting and Graves says the district will not press charges.

“Board meetings are public and we want them to be that way. We want people to feel free they can come, however, given the fact that we had a board approved mask mandate which also was very much endorsed by the medical community here in Mitchell.” Graves continued, “Frankly it had to be done because either you have a mandate or you don’t.”

Graves adds the mask mandate in Mitchell schools is going well, and in his time as superintendent, he’s never experienced anything like what happened Monday night.

“It’s just very unfortunate this happened, I’ve never had this happen before at a school board meeting. I certainly don’t want it to happen again. Hopefully, we can have this debate in a way that can meet everybody’s requirements,” said Graves.

Dakota News Now reached out to the man who was escorted out of the meeting, and he was not available for comment today.

Copyright 2020 Dakota News Now. All rights reserved.

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