Man Refusing To Wear Mask Disrupts School Board Meeting

WALLA WALLA, Wash. (AP) — Police were called to a Walla Walla School Board meeting on Tuesday when a man refused to wear a mask and disrupted the proceedings, officials said.

The meeting Tuesday was halted and will resume in a virtual format next week, The Union-Bulletin reported.

Before the meeting, attendees were reminded that masks were required and one man refused to comply, officials said. According to a statement from the school district Wednesday, he was offered the option to watch the meeting online, but the man refused to leave.

A Walla Walla police officer escorted the man out and the meeting began. But he came back, and district officials decided to end the meeting, officials said.

According to district staff, the man claimed an exemption from the mask requirement.

Gov. Jay Inslee last month announced a statewide mask mandate for indoor public spaces regardless of vaccination status after weeks of escalating COVID-19 case rates and increasing hospitalizations caused primarily by the highly-contagious delta variant of the coronavirus spreading among unvaccinated people.

The district’s statement said that after consulting with an attorney, it was determined that district staff are only required to provide a “reasonable accommodation,” such as a virtual option, for those who say they cannot wear a mask.