The January 25 meeting of the Los Alamitos Unified School District School Board was delayed approximately 40 minutes after an attendee refused to comply with the California Department of Public Health’s current indoor mask requirement, which is due to expire on February 15.
The man, Ian Jameson, an activist from Los Angeles, refused to put on a mask and said he was engaging in an act of “civil disobedience”. Jameson said he has no children in the school district, but intends to end the meeting to protest California’s current Covid-19 safety protocols, which he says , were illegal.
There were about 20 people in the meeting audience and most were wearing face coverings.
After Jameson repeatedly refused to comply or offer a reason for a bye, the board took two suspensions. Board chair Diana Hill eventually announced that the public would have to clear the boardroom due to Jameson’s refusal to abide by the rules.
“We had hoped that this meeting would be conducted in a way that would allow the public to participate and allow the board to conduct the necessary business,” Hill said. “However, due to the deliberate defiance … of the participants … we believe that the orderly conduct of this meeting has been rendered impossible,” she added.
The meeting was moved to the council conference room where essential district administrators were allowed along with two members of the press. Audio of the meeting was streamed live on YouTube. The five people who filled out a public comment card were able to address the board in person in the boardroom.
According to Los Alamitos USD Superintendent Dr. Andrew Pulver, the Los Alamitos Police Department was called only to inform them of the situation. “We didn’t want a confrontation,” Pulver said in a phone interview days after the meeting. “It was not a security situation. There was no sense in giving him the attention he wanted,” he added.
Officers eventually came to district headquarters, but everyone left the building without incident, according to Pulver.
Here’s what else happened at the meeting;
- Assistant Superintendent Ondrea Reed provided an overview of the Universal Transitional Kindergarten (UTK) program that will be offered district-wide next year. UTK and Kindergarten enrollment for the 2022-2023 school year closes Feb. 4 for district residents.
- Council members heard a presentation on potential changes to the fees the District charges outdoor groups to use its facilities, including sports fields and indoor venues.
- Pulver said fifth-grade students in the district attend the Pali Institute’s outdoor science school near Lake Arrowhead in late January and early February. Dr Pulver said some of the Covid-19 relief money was used to offset the costs to families associated with moving the OSS to a camp that offered stronger health and safety measures. .
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