American News May 21, 2021 1:06 PM EST

New Hampshire mom arrested after unmasking at school board meeting

(photos from the Union Leader) Kate Bossi, who is also a Sunday school teacher, was the first unmasked person to walk into the Performing Arts Center where the meeting was being held.

New Hampshire mom arrested after unmasking at school board meeting
Libby Emmons Brooklyn, NY
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Parents showed up at a Timberlane Regional School Board meeting in New Hampshire to request that the mask mandate for school children be lifted. But the school board shut down the meeting before it began because the parents were unmasked themselves. Then one of the mom's was arrested and escorted out of the meeting after she refused to cover her face.

The Union Leader reports that "several Plaistow police officers and state police troopers swarmed inside and outside the auditorium" as the meeting was stopped and the woman was arrested.

Kate Bossi, who is also a Sunday school teacher, was the first unmasked person to walk into the Performing Arts Center where the meeting was being held. According to her daughter Jackie Wydola, Bossi's arrest happened shortly after 7 pm, which is when the meeting was meant to take place.

The school policy which requires masking was what Bossi and Wydola were at the meeting to protest. The masking mandate is not law, but the policy of the school board.

As she was cuffed and led away, Bossi told arresting officer Sgt. Alec Porter "You are violating my rights right now. You are remiss."

"Come on Sgt. Porter, you know this is wrong what they’re doing to our kids," another man said as Bossi was led away.

“Are you seriously doing this you guys," Wydola told officers. "This is law enforcement. You're not enforcing laws, you're enforcing policy. That doesn't matter."

Wydola told the Union Leader that Bossi "didn’t really have any interaction with the officer. She just walked into the building and when they realized that she had come into the auditorium they followed her in here."

Board Chairwoman Kimberly Farah said she shut the meeting down when the unmasked people came into the auditorium and demanded that the scheduled in-person meeting move online.

"I didn't want to jeopardize the health of the staff and the students," Farah said. But people were angry when she abruptly removed the option to discuss matters in person. This isn't the first time Farah has had a showdown with people who are unmasked.

In her capacity  on the Danville Board of Selectmen, she walked out of a board meeting earlier this week again because people opposed to masking policy arrived to petition for a redress of grievances, and Farah wasn't hearing it.

Farah was asked if she was concerned about the anger she faced after her quick termination of the meeting, but she said "No, I was in the Army, I do not. I'm quite confident in the fact that I've got backups here."

Wydola said that she was told the arrest was for "disorderly conduct."

One of those who joined Farah in walking out of the the Danville meeting had intended to suggest the mandate be lifted by the school board, mostly so kids could go to prom without covering their faces.

"Kids are going to be going to the prom in two days," School board member Shawn O’Neil said. "It would be nice to have them be able to enjoy it without a mask. You know? They all got screwed last year," he said.

Another unmasked resident, Bonnie Bowley of Danville, claimed a medical exemption from masking for herself and her family. Her kids, who study religion with Bossi at Sunday school, were brought to tears by the sight of Bossi's arrest.

"We have every right to be here. I get it's scary, but that should not dictate our right to be here," she said, She also noted that she wouldn't have brought her children if she thought they'd "face that kind of aggression."

"I came here pretty calm and now I’m trying to calm down," she said.

Residents who were following the policy and kept their faces covered in compliance said they were frustrated that others wouldn't just go along with it.

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