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District 204 meeting ends early after parents, students protest mask mandate

Showered with jeers from a crowd of parents and students angry about Indian Prairie Unit District 204 maintaining an indoor mask requirement in the face of last week’s court ruling against the mandate, school board members adjourned their meeting Monday without getting past the Pledge of Allegiance.

Board President Laurie Donahue repeatedly asked the many maskless people at the Crouse Education Center to wear masks and adhere to the district policy. But she was shouted down each time by segments of the raucous crowd.

Board members returned to the room after two recesses. But they adjourned after about 45 minutes.

“I would really like to hear your comments — whether you believe that or not. The whole board would like to,” Donahue said. “But to do so, we need masks. It’s your choice.”

As Superintendent Adrian Talley and school board members left the room the final time, several people yelled “Shame on you” at them. According to Naperville Community Television, board members Mark Rising and Justin Karubas stayed in the meeting room after the adjournment and listened to comments from remaining attendees.

District officials rescheduled the board meeting for Tuesday night. It was slated to be held remotely on Zoom instead of in-person, although public comments were still planned to be part of the proceedings.

District 204 was one of more than 140 school districts named as a defendant in a lawsuit aiming to end the state mask mandate for schools imposed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker. But because of uncertainty surrounding last week’s temporary restraining order, the district’s legal counsel advised adhering to the ruling only for the specific plaintiffs listed in the lawsuit.

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