District 204 board meets remotely one day after adjourning early due to maskless attendees
One day after adjourning before even getting started because of maskless attendees, the Indian Prairie Unit District 204 school board meeting took place remotely and was livestreamed on Tuesday.
A raucous crowd of angry parents and students attended Monday's scheduled meeting, prepared to vent their frustration to school board members and Superintendent Adrian Talley about the district requiring masks in schools, despite a court ruling against the state mandate.
But after board President Laurie Donahue called for two recesses because of people in the audience refusing to wear masks, she adjourned the meeting. Talley and most board members left while being jeered by the crowd. Board members Mark Rising and Justin Karubas stayed in the room and listened to comments from attendees.
Officials from District 204 -- one of more than 140 school districts named in the lawsuit against the mandate -- said the district would adhere to the court ruling only for the specific plaintiffs named in the lawsuit.
After not getting a chance to participate in public comments in person on Monday, 11 people spoke Tuesday night over a Zoom connection.
"I was at the meeting (Monday) night, and I was incredibly disappointed that the board walked out, except for the two folks that stayed," parent Anthony Bellagamba said. "I thought that was just very poor form. There were parents waiting there to be heard. Concerned parents, parents that have things to say. And you all walked out and didn't address us, and it was over what I would call a technicality."
Talley addressed the mask mandate during his superintendent comments, acknowledging the concerns of the entire community.
"Over the weekend, the board and I received many emails, some showing displeasure with the decision and some showing support," Talley said. "As with any major decision, there will always be a lot of opinions as we continue to navigate what our community wants."