A board meeting for Libertyville-Vernon Hills District 128 went into recess Monday after attendees became disruptive and a student speaker refused to wear a mask.
The board meeting was held Monday evening at Libertyville High School.
Several students and parents spoke during the public comment part of the school board meeting, with many of them speaking against the district’s decision to continue requiring masks in schools.
“You are needlessly and senselessly wasting our taxpayer dollars and jeopardizing our district. More than 530 districts have gone mask-optional, that’s over 60% [of school districts in Illinois. You are on the wrong side here,” one parent said.
A Libertyville High School student, who was not wearing a mask, approached the podium to speak but was immediately told by a board member to put her mask on.
“Can you please put your mask back on please?” the board member said. “I’m talking…” the student responded.
“Yes, even when you’re talking please, thank you,” the board member said.
Several people in the audience began shouting at the board members, which prompted the same board member to ask the audience not to have “any outbursts.”
Over an hour into the public comment period, a male student approached the podium to speak and was asked by Board of Education Vice President Jim Batson to put a mask on.
“I do not actually have to as I am a plaintiff listed on the case,” the student said, prompting the audience to stand up and cheer.
“You are not here attending school so this is after hours, so we ask that you—” Batson said as the student cut him off.
“If you make me put a mask on you will be held in contempt of court going against the court order. It states that at any time in the school building I do not have to wear a mask. If you force me to wear a mask, we will with Mr. DeVore take you to court hold you in contempt of court for violating a direct judge order,” the student said.
The board immediately went into recess for 10 minutes.
“I’d like to bring us back to order here. We really do want to hear everyone speak. We want you to be able to have the opportunity to speak but we need everyone to follow the protocols in place in the district,” Batson said as the board came back from recess.
The same student came back to the podium and an argument ensued between the board and the student.
The student, who later identified himself as Justin St. Louis, a senior at Vernon Hills High School, agreed to put on a mask.
St. Louis spoke for several minutes and urged the board to make masks optional for all students in the district.
Board members said in a presentation that the district would switch to mask recommended for all students if the appeal’s court rules the state’s mask mandate in schools is not legal.
The board said that if the appeal’s court upholds the judge’s ruling that the state’s school mask mandate is not legal for only the listed plaintiffs, then the district’s mask requirement would continue for all students except the ones named as plaintiffs.