WICHITA, Kan (KSNW) – The Wichita Board of Education has had a mask policy for over a year now.
On Monday, new members that were to be sworn in, as well as some audience members, did not comply with the policy. In not doing so, BOE President Stan Reeser suspended the meeting.
Many board members and USD 259 parents shared their frustrations.
“With a situation like what we have with USD 259, where there is a lot of work to be done. There is a lot of important things going on. Instead, what we’ve got, is now, apparently, politics is at the point where we can’t get things done anymore,” said Jessi Wingdahl, who has a child attending a school in the district.
Wingdahl says she was frustrated with what she calls a “political stunt” at the meeting on Monday.
“That’s not okay, and I think we need to start sending a message that this is just not going to be acceptable,” said Wingdahl.
Reeser said moving forward all board members will have to follow the current rules of the district in future meetings.
“We made it clear. From now on, you will not enter a Wichita Public School, whether you are a student, a parent, a board member, anyone, you will not enter a building without a mask,” said Reeser.
New board member Diane Albert, who did not wear a mask, said she was ready to get work done on Monday.
“We were ambushed by Mr. Reeser. Not wanting to have the school board meeting and focus on student outcomes, focus on student achievement, focus on what we’re there to do. The business in the school district,” said Albert.
But Reeser said he stands by the current rules in place.
“You don’t get to change the rules by not following the rules. You don’t get to follow the rules that you just like. You have to actually follow the rules that are there until you have a chance to actually change that rule,” said Reeser.
The BOE has rescheduled its meeting for next Tuesday, Jan. 18 at noon. Albert said she is willing to comply with reasonable COVID-19 protocols, but did not say if she will wear a mask at the next meeting.