Nearly a dozen anti-mask protesters charged with disrupting Utah school board meeting

Nearly a dozen people accused of disrupting a Granite School Board meeting in May with their vociferous opposition to the statewide mask mandate for students in grades K-12 now face criminal charges.

Last week, 11 people were charged in South Salt Lake Justice Court with disrupting a public meeting, a class B misdemeanor. Some of those charged appear to have no connection with Granite School District.

Those charged include: Kaleb Jeremiah Pierce, 45, and Sara Lea McArthur, 34, both of American Fork; Ted Michael Tyler, 52, and Bernadette Ethel Brockman, 54, of Taylorsville; Scott Randall Sherner, 60, Jeremy Kawika Dunyon, 35, and Debora Noriko Arai, 46, of West Valley City; Sophia Anderson, 41, and Angela Kay Van Leeuwen, 39, of Salt Lake City; Andrea May Jorgensen, 38, of Holladay; and Kasey Ray Wilson, 38, of West Jordan.

According to a statement from the Granite School District, police were still attempting on Tuesday to identify at least one other person who could face criminal charges.

On May 4, the Granite Board of Education's meeting came to an abrupt end when a group became disruptive after a woman was not allowed to address the board. The school board said the woman had not signed up to speak prior to the meeting.

Granite School Board abruptly adjourns after protesters disrupt meeting

The crowd — many of whom were not wearing masks — rose to its feet in protest and one man shouted: “Remember this day! Remember this day!” Others chanted: “No more masks. No more masks. No more masks.”

Some in the audience wore shirts with the words “See My Smile,” a parent organization that wanted the statewide health order mandating masks in K-12 schools abolished. The group boisterously cheered and applauded as one woman spoke against the order.

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Gov. Spencer Cox announced a week after the meeting that the mandatory mask mandate for schools would be lifted for the final week of school.

After the crowd rose to its feet and began chanting, Granite School Board members voted to adjourn the meeting and quickly exited out a back door.

“While there was a police presence at the meeting, the decision was made in advance to be nonconfrontational unless the situation became violent. Regardless, there are repercussions for these actions and the board was unable to conduct its business as a result of these disruptive criminal actions. The board and district encourage civil discourse as we model appropriate behavior for our children and students,” the school district said in a prepared statement Tuesday.

The district said it took a little longer for charges to be filed “because many of the individuals were not associated with the district as patrons or residents,” so police needed more time to identify those involved.

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