CA School Board President Abruptly Ends Meeting Because of ‘Incorrectly Worn’ Masks in Audience—Fellow Board Member Says ‘From My Vantage Point Everyone Was in Masks’

Board member provides American Faith with lengthy statement condemning district board president’s actions: “I would like to encourage every member of the community, and if you are on a school board, to fight back.”

QUICK FACTS:
  • A Placentia Yorba Linda Unified School District (PYLUSD) board meeting in California was cut short by the board president, Carrie Buck, who says she adjourned the meeting because some audience members were not wearing their masks “correctly.”
  • Mrs. Buck is seen at the start of the video warning audience members, “I already see people with their masks incorrectly worn,” before explaining to the room that the California Department of Public Health had “announced that masks are required for all individuals in an indoor public setting irrespective of vaccine status.”
  • “We will ask that all individuals in attendance with us this evening please put a mask on at this time and leave it on for the duration of our meeting,” she went on to say.
  • Mrs. Buck then noted that mesh masks “are not acceptable” for meeting attendees because OC Health Care Agency Director Dr. Clayton Chau had said so.
  • Buck went on reading from her prepared statement that “mask materials should block the light when held up to a bright light source. And it should ensure that the particles coming from a person’s mouth are contained within the mask.”
  • “Mesh masks do not meet these requirements,” she said. “Therefore they are not acceptable in this building or any district facility, including our schools.”
  • Buck went on reading more rules from the list in her hands, before taking an announced “pause” wherein “any individuals that don’t have [such a mask yet on] may put their mask on or retrieve one outside or from the table,” and asking that anyone who did not wish to wear a mask during the meeting would need to “please exit the building.”
  • Next, fellow board member Leandra Blades can be seen in the video removing her mask to speak up during the pause in order to address someone in attendance making a comment at the podium, before being cut off mid-sentence by Mrs. Buck, who told Mrs. Blades to put her mask on properly.
  • Mrs. Blades obeyed Mrs. Buck’s request as she quipped about NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci being able to speak without a mask on, and tried to explain something to Mrs. Buck about the “handicapped” audience members, before Mrs. Buck interrupted her again, not letting her speak at all.
  • American Faith reached out to Mrs. Blades for a comment on the situation, and she told us that from her perspective everyone in the audience “was in masks,” contradicting the board president’s claim that they were not.
  • “I was attempting to ask [Mrs. Buck] to allow the board to reach a consensus to allow the mask to be removed when speaking so people at home watching livestream could hear what the speakers were saying,” Mrs. Blades explained to us. “There are also people who are deaf and read lips. You cannot read lips when someone is wearing a mask.”
  • Mrs. Blades’ full response is provided below.
  • ALSO: Parents attending the meeting did two things: 1) corroborate Mrs. Blades’ rendition of the night’s events to American Faith as being a more accurate description, and 2) point out that the superintendent, also attending the meeting, can be seen in the video “packing up his stuff before [Mrs. Buck] even adjourned the meeting.”
WATCH THE BOARD MEETING:
WHAT MRS. BLADES SAID:

Mrs. Buck interrupted me while I was trying to speak, which is against our board bylaws in the area of respect and consideration. Her attempts to silence me and not give my constituents a voice is appalling and disrespectful.

This is the second time Mrs. Buck has ended the meeting in violation of our board bylaws and government code. It’s appalling that she believes she has the authority for this level of dictatorship. The board works as a board, and votes as a board. It is not a dictatorship. She has also made a recent mask rule unilaterally, between herself and the superintendent, without the board’s knowledge or vote.

From my vantage point, everyone was in masks. I was attempting to ask her to allow the board to reach a consensus to allow the mask to be removed when speaking so people at home watching livestream could hear what the speakers were saying. There are also people who are deaf and read lips. You cannot read lips when someone is wearing a mask.

I believe she had pre-planned to end the meeting abruptly not only this week, but for last week’s meeting as well.

The community is appalled at her and the superintendent making unilateral decisions. The community is appalled that some students are being denied an education due to their mask choice. She didn’t want to hear the negative opinions and also the legal arguments from attorneys who were coming and planning to speak. We have allowed mesh masks and sports masks on campus for the last year and a half. To decide unilaterally to impose a rule, but only enforce the rule on some students, and remove them from campus not only violates the education code, but it also violates the California Constitution and the student’s rights to an in-person education. I am appalled at the treatment of these students and am trying whatever means possible to get them back into the classroom. I get emails and texts daily from parents, students, staff and teachers reporting that they are still wearing mesh and sports masks, however only certain students are targeted.

The district up until now was following the state and county guidelines. The superintendent and Mrs. Buck unilaterally decided to make masks stricter once it was rumored that parents were seeking attorneys for litigation. Past practice is a big thing in our law system. To all of a sudden change the rules is wrong. They are removing kids from the classroom who have been wearing mesh masks for a year and a half. I believe in parents’ choice and the right to choose. I believe in freedom.

I would like to encourage every member of the community, and if you are on a school board, to fight back. The unions have been in charge for so long, but if you look at the direction of our schools, they are headed in the wrong direction. The people in our communities elected us for a reason. We need to enact the will of the people—it’s not about the will of the superintendent or the teachers unions. There is no such thing as government-funded anything, only taxpayer-funded. These are our children, our schools. They should be providing the education the community wants, not unions and lobbyist organizations.

WHAT A PARENT ATTENDEE SAID:
  • “I was shocked! Security was checking our PPE at the door and was providing masks for people who were not wearing any,” one parent said. “When Mrs. Buck paused for a moment to give everyone a chance to go grab a mask if they needed one, I looked around and everyone I saw in the entire room was complying. I did not see one person not complying and I was relieved that we were going to be able to move forward with the meeting.”
  • “When she stated, ‘I am also seeing that people aren’t wearing them correctly, so at this time I’m going to adjourn the meeting at 6:02,’ we were furious because she was lying! She is using our staff and students as political pawns for her own benefit. I just don’t see how a superintendent can let the president of a school board lie in front of an entire room of people and not call her out on it.”
BACKGROUND:
  • American Faith recently reported about California schools being incentivized to mask and vaccinate students with $15 billion in federal aid via the “ESSER III Fund.”
  • The ESSER III Fund gives $15,079,696,097 to California schools that commit to “universal and correct wearing of masks,” “diagnostic and screening testing,” and “efforts to provide vaccinations to school communities.”