MOLALLA, Ore–Mask rules became an issue in the Molalla River School District Wednesday. The school district has announced the closure to ensure safety after a parent organized walk-out Wednesday over mask rules became disruptive.
About 100 students joined 50 parents during lunch protesting Oregon’s mask requirements. The district new about the event ahead of time. Superintendent Tony Mann worked with Police Chief Chris Long regarding student safety. A police officer was on hand to make sure students crossed the street safely.
A half hour after the walk out Mann was told protesters were likely headed to school district offices. Not knowing how big the group was, or its intentions, Mann locked all outside doors. Staff was told to pull all the blinds and relocate to a safe place in the building. The school district says protestors pounded on doors and windows. Their actions “grew in intensity.”
A number of students and staff called in sick Thursday. Protests continued with 15-20 high school students and adults outside the high school. Over 100 middle school students peacefully refused to go to classes with a mask on.
In a statement Superintendent Tony Mann says, “I strongly believe in our community’s ability to solve problems together, and to resolve disagreements in productive ways. I ask all of the adults in our community to recommit themselves to setting an example of civility and collegiality in the few short weeks until the mask mandate in lifted in our district.”
The district also told residents the goal is to keep schools open. It asks that protests not directly impact or disrupt school buildings, entryways, crosswalks and classrooms.