Wichita BOE president suspends meeting after new members fail to wear masks

Wichita BOE president Stan Reeser suspended the first meeting of 2022 after some attendees,...
Wichita BOE president Stan Reeser suspended the first meeting of 2022 after some attendees, including three new board members, refused to wear masks.(Wichita Public Schools)
Published: Jan. 10, 2022 at 7:28 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - The Wichita School Board was scheduled to swear in its newest members Monday night, but that didn’t happen.

BOE President Stan Reeser called for everyone to put on their mask as a part of a directive the board passed on August 23, 2021. The directive requires anyone ages 3 and up to wear a mask in district buildings. After a brief pause, new members, Diane Albert, Kathy Bond and Hazel Stabler, sat unmasked and Reeser suspended the meeting without calling it to order due to the non-compliance.

“One. Our students and staff have made it clear that they want to be in school to teach and to learn. In order to make this possible, we must follow current health recommendations and follow public health guidelines The board of education face mask requirement gives us the greatest chance to have the safest possible teaching and learning environment,” Reeser said.

“And two. This is probably the most important. This district cannot vote on directives, policies and protocols that we expect students, staff and visitors to abide by all the while, while exempting BOE members. This is a message we cannot send,” he said.

Wichita Public Schools put out a tweet after the meeting was suspended, stating, “The BOE President suspended tonight’s Board of Education meeting due to the district’s mask requirement not being followed by attendees at the meeting.”

Incumbent board member Julie Hedrick was also scheduled to be sworn-in to a new term Monday night, along with the new members.

Reeser said he would follow up with the Wichita Public Schools superintendent and BOE clerk to reschedule the meeting.

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