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Illinois School Board Adjourns Meeting amid Fierce Debate Over Masking

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Lake Forest School District 115 school board meeting, September 13, 2021. (Screengrab via LFHS Info/YouTube)

Members of an Illinois school board voted unanimously on Monday night to adjourn a meeting of the board until a later date after a community member refused to wear a mask during a heated public-comment portion of the meeting. 

More than a dozen community members spoke out at the Lake Forest School District 115 meeting on Monday night, urging the school to go against Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker’s school mask mandate.

After one woman stood up to speak out against the mandate and ignored the board president’s request to wear a mask, the board unanimously voted to take a short recess. The board voted to take the recess and left the room as the woman continued speaking.

As the board exited the room, other attendees also defiantly ripped their masks off. (Public comments in the video below start at the 1:07:07 timestamp.)

When the board returned minutes later, the room had largely cleared out. Several more people spoke before another attendee began to address the board and similarly refused to wear a mask, leading the board to unanimously vote to reconvene the meeting later this week. 

As the woman shouted remarks, board president Jenny Zinser moved to recess the meeting to Thursday to consider the remaining items on the agenda, adding that the meeting would probably be held virtually. The board unanimously agreed to move the meeting. 

Tensions were running high at the meeting as parents urged the school-board members to do as at least 58 other Illinois school districts have done and vote to make masks optional. The governor has given those districts’ administrators an ultimatum: require masking in schools or forfeit state recognition, funding, sports participation, and the college prospects of seniors.

While Pritzker first said in July that he believed masking and COVID-19 protocols should be left up to local school leaders, he did an about-face on August 4 when he announced that he would require all students, staff, and visitors in Illinois private and

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