OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – Blue Valley’s school board met virtually Monday due to threats the district reportedly received. The district announced the change earlier in the day.
“The meeting was moved virtually because of safety concerns. They relate to threats we have viewed or have received that were threatening in nature,” Blue Valley School Board President Amy Tysseling explained at the start of the meeting.
Outside on the building’s front lawn, about 50 parents gathered who had planned to speak inside the meeting about masks.
“There are a lot of us, and they canceled the meeting on us because they don’t want to face us,” said Rebecca Campbell, a Blue Valley mom of six.
“The district has not made the emotional and mental best interest of students this year. This is another example of moving this to a remote meeting I think just because they don’t want to face parents,” said Dave Trabert, with the Kansas Policy Institute.
Campbell questioned the district’s claims that threats had been made, that it wasn’t sure had been received or just viewed.
“Yes we’re angry, but we aren’t threatening anybody. We just want to be heard,” she said.
It’s not the first time a Blue Valley meeting involving anti-mask parents had to be altered. A hearing on a mask lawsuit under Senate Bill 40 was postponed when one audience member refused to wear a mask when they were required under the health order.
They no longer are required in Johnson County, but school district’s like Blue Valley say they’ll continue their policies throughout the school year.
“We have 14 days to go in the school year and are focused on getting through the school year and finishing strong,” Tysseling said.
Though they couldn’t come in, parents and students still got a chance to sound off to the board on mask mandates in an unusual fashion, through the computer sitting on the main entrance sign to the building.
“No. 1 continue in person learning, no. 2 make mask wearing optional,” student Paxton Burke told the board.
“I will not be sending my children to your schools under these conditions. These are toxic conditions you are creating, and I will not comply,” Ashley Rice said.
Masks weren’t on the agenda Monday. The school board said it’s in discussion with the administration about what the fall will look like and whether masks will be required, and will let parents know soon.