What would have been a discussion on how the Clarkstown Central school district planned to resume classes this fall was drowned by the shouting of nearly 170 residents, many who refused to wear masks inside the Clarkstown South High School auditorium. The district board decided not to hold its regularly scheduled meeting last Thursday.
“It’s not your building!” screamed one member of the audience as Board President Walter Litvak informed the crowd that the meeting would not begin until all attendees were in compliance with the district’s face covering requirement.
While both the Center for Disease Control and the State Department of Education strongly recommend that students return to school masked, as of now there is no mandate. Regardless, many local districts are requiring that students and faculty comply with the recommendation when classes resume in the fall.
When explaining the rationale behind its decision to require masks, the rise of the much more contagious delta variant of the coronavirus, the board’s comments were drowned out by boos, hisses, and one resident loudly stating that the board members are “sheep.”
As the crowd continued to shout, with some cursing at members of the board, Litvak called to adjourn the meeting, a motion his fellow board members quickly approved.
Undeterred, many members of the audience marched out of the auditorium and gathered in the school’s parking lot to voice the public comments they had planned for the meeting. Their rhetoric was focused on preventing the teaching of critical race theory in Clarkstown schools and ending the district’s mask mandate.
The board held a meeting on Friday morning to vote on the measures they were unable to discuss at Thursday’s meeting. The next board meeting is scheduled for Thursday, August 19. A partial recording of the meeting can be found on the Clarkstown Community Facebook page here.