Last Tuesday, the public comment section of the Montgomery County school board meeting in Virginia grew heated after parent Alecia Vaught accused Chairwoman Susan Kass of blatant disregard of her own mask policy.
Vaught pulled up phone images of a maskless Kass in a crowd, prompting Kass to walk out of the meeting, according to Daily Mail.
On February 15, Alecia Vaught decided to call out the Montgomery County school board’s hypocrisy on mask mandates. For one thing, the school district has ignored Governor Youngkin’s order—which has since become law—stating that parents have the right to decide if their children should be masked in school. Adding fuel to the fire, Chairwoman Susan Kass had previously reprimanded The Second Monday Constitution Group (founded by Vaught) for taking off their masks in protest at the last meeting.
“We sat here last year and listened to you guys preach to us about Governor Northam’s executive orders and how we must follow them. Remember that?” Vaught said last Tuesday during public comment.
“Here’s a governor that comes into office, but yet you don’t want to follow his orders. Why is that? Why is it different from last year when we were here to this year?” continued Vaught. “Two different governors, different political parties. So we’re supposed to follow it last year, but not this year? That makes no sense, and it makes all of you a bunch of hypocrites.”
Vaught was also bothered when Kass said that public comment was for community members and students—but failed to mention parents.
“It’s very concerning that you would take the power of the parents and Ms. Kass, I would like to point out real fast. This is the time we get to hear from the students, staff, and from community members,” Vaught said. “You did not mention parents one bit, and I think that is a big issue for Montgomery County School Board because you guys do not like the parents.”
Vaught then held up her phone to show images from Susan Kass’s Facebook that display her among others not wearing masks.
At that moment, Kass interrupted and told Vaught she would no longer be allowed to speak.
“I’m sorry Ms. Vaught, you are done if you are going to, if you are going to sit there and disparage a member of our school board, you can sit down,” said Kass. “I am not going to sit here, this is not about you anymore. Can we have an officer, please?”
An officer came to stand beside Vaught but did not escort her out.
One board member, Jamie Bond, spoke up to defend Vaught’s right to speak. “She should be able to say her piece,” said Bond. “I’ve had to listen to people come and criticize me.”
“That doesn’t make it right, Jamie,” retorted Kass. “That’s my family.”
Vaught responded to Kass, saying, “What do you think about our family? Our family has been suffocated to death with your policies.”
Kass decided she had heard enough and got up out of her seat to leave the room. She walked past Vaught, who said, “We’re coming for your seat.”
“You can have it,” Kass snapped back.
On the way out of the building, Kass complained to the Roanoke Times about “selfish beliefs” connected to the pandemic. “I volunteered to do this because I care about teachers, and I care about students,” explained Kass.
Kass said she was especially upset that night because her father had been in the hospital. “And I stayed here for this,” she stated. Kass later told WFXR News that she felt it was a personal attack.
“It was very much pointed at me and pointed at trying to disparage me to get me to leave the school board,” Kass said.
About the Facebook photos, Kass explained, “Well, yeah of course I don’t wear a mask with my family that I have been with throughout COVID.”
Vaught said she didn’t intend to single out Kass and planned to call out other board members on their hypocrisy.
“They need to listen to the parents. We are the parents, we dictate how they grow up, how they get educated, and we pay the taxes for those schools to get built. We pay these salaries, we elect these board members onto the boards,” Vaught said.
What do you think about this interaction between the parent and the school board member? What about the school district’s decision to continue implementing a mask policy despite Governor Youngkin’s new law?
Join the conversation!