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Sedalia school board votes to require masks


Masks will be required in Sedalia School District 200 buildings for the 2021-22 school year after a Board of Education special meeting Monday night.

The Board voted 6-1; board member Matthew Herren voted no. The school district also had a mask requirement during the 2020-21 school year.  

The meeting lasted for almost two hours and consisted mostly of public comments. This portion was originally meant to be one hour, with the first 30 minutes reserved for those in favor of optional masks and the remaining 30 minutes for those in favor of requiring masks. Each speaker was given three minutes. Board President Diana Nichols explained this was to hopefully allow for 10 people per side to speak.

The public speaking portion did go over one hour, with speakers on both sides continuing to speak after their three-minute requirements. The board would turn off the microphone if the speaker went over three minutes, but many still continued to speak. Throughout the meeting, including when the Board moved to have its discussion, members in the audience would yell out comments (some containing insults and vulgar language) and applaud.

For those in favor of optional masks, speakers cited scientific studies that state masks don’t work and negatively affect the health of children, and said it violates their constitutional rights. Some compared a mask mandate to “child abuse.” One speaker compared it to the Auschwitz concentration camp during the Holocaust and another to Japanese-American internment camps during WWII.  

Michelle Quattlebaum, who ran for the board in the 2021 Municipal Election, questioned whose authority the mask mandate came from, the school board or the Pettis County Health Center. She cited this as being “back and forth BS.” She said she believes either this mandate came from the Health Center or from the school district, except for Herren; during the election, Herren and Quattlebaum ran in support of each other. 

Stanley Cox wanted the board to read the scientific information he had provided them in several packets, which was not passed out to them. Information can be submitted to the board prior to a meeting, but not during meetings.

According to Cox, there is no science that supports that masking children works in stopping the spread of COVID-19. 

Mike Cook said he did not see the fear of the “so-called virus” in the school board. He noted he wanted citizens to take pictures of every board member who did not vote against a mask mandate so he could make them “famous” on his podcast. 

For those in favor of a mask mandate, speakers cited scientific studies, the rise of COVID rates, and COVID rates in schools that are already open for classes. Some cited information given by previous speakers as being false. 

Dr. Jeffrey Sharp, a physician with Bothwell Family Medicine Associates who was the school board president before retiring this year, cited his experience as a medical doctor and noted the recent rise of COVID cases. He added wearing masks worked during the previous school year. 

Matt Peachtree, an alumnus of Smith-Cotton High School and husband of an S-C High School teacher, said he was “ashamed” the mask mandate was even up for debate, adding COVID will spread like wildfire amongst unmasked children. 

Another speaker questioned why kids do not have to wear a mask inside of school if the federal government is requiring kids to be masked on school buses.

Following the last pro-mask speaker, another speaker, who had spoken earlier against the mask mandate, attempted to speak again. After being told she couldn't by Nichols and Superintendent Steve Triplett, two school security personnel forced her away from the microphone. From there, she continued to yell out her comments from her seat. 

During the board’s discussion, Triplett began by noting how the district made masks optional during the end of the 2020-21 school year. During this time, Cox stood up again and physically passed out his packets to Herren on stage. From there, the packets were passed to every board member and school administrator on stage. 

Although he addressed that he cannot vote as superintendent, Triplett spoke in favor of requiring masks, saying it will keep kids in school. With quarantine guidelines, he explained unmasked students must be quarantined when around a student who tests positive for COVID. In addition, Triplett said grades suffered for the majority of students who remained home last year and participated in online learning.

He added the board has not spoken of making vaccines a requirement for students and staff.

Board members Nichols, Michael Stees, Scott Gardner, and Sam Kempton spoke in favor of requiring masks. 

Herren spoke against masks. He said he wanted to know when it will end, citing how he wants “freedom.” He noted he wanted elected officials that defend constitutional rights. 


3 comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here

  • capitalb620

    Is that the same Mike Cook that was arrested after an armed standoff with Sedalia Police in 2014?

    Yeah let’s take advice from that guy.

    Tuesday, August 17, 2021 Report this

  • ladylib

    As a Jewish member of this community I would like to say comparing mask mandates to the Holocaust is encouraging and enabling Holocaust deniers. There is no correlation between wearing a mask to preserve community health and being singled out for violence, abuse, and ultimately state sanctioned genocide. Many leaders of the Jewish community in Missouri and nationwide have asked that people stop making this comparison and that community leaders actively discourage it. If you went to the Auschwitz exhibit and came away thinking that a face mask is the same, you are ignorant.

    Tuesday, August 17, 2021 Report this

  • capitalb620

    “ Mike Cook said he did not see the fear of the “so-called virus” in the school board. He noted he wanted citizens to take pictures of every board member who did not vote against a mask mandate so he could make them “famous” on his podcast. “

    What a massive, narcissistic man child. Between this and forcing his kid to speak and spread propaganda, he really needs to crawl back into the sewer behind his ratty tire shop. (I’d say I hope the sewer has been cleared by the EPA, but he probably doesn’t trust their science either.)

    Saturday, August 21, 2021 Report this