Michelle Cottle in The New York Times:
America’s school board meetings are out of control.
Forget sonorous debates over capital improvements and annual budgets. Today’s gatherings are ground zero for some of the nation’s nastiest brawls over the hyper-politicized issue of mask mandates. Meetings are being overrun by protesters voicing their objections to face-coverings in classrooms — replete with mask-themed conspiracy theories, accusations of fascism and biblically themed condemnations. (Many protesters have divined that the Almighty hates masks.) School board members are being harassed and threatened, in person and online.
The encounters can get weird — and scary. Outside a school board meeting near Nashville, protesters swarmed medical professionals who had spoken in support of masking, screaming profanity and threats. “You will never be allowed in public again!” one raged. “We know who you are,” another warned. “You can leave freely, but we will find you!”
At a school board meeting in Lee County, Fla., one anti-mask speaker linked the board’s support of a mandate with support for child sex trafficking. (Don’t ask.) Outside, law enforcement had to break up physical altercations.
Just before a scheduled meeting in Fort Lauderdale, a protester sporting a “Not Vaccinated” T-shirt spritzed a tray of masks with lighter fluid and set it aflame, proclaiming, “It’s time to pass off this symbol of tyranny!” The board postponed its mask discussion.