Fight Breaks Out After School Board Votes in Favor of Mask Mandate

A school board meeting in Missouri descended into violence after members voted in favor of introducing a mask mandate.

According to KMBC News, several fights erupted in the parking lot of Pleasant Hill High School, in Cass County, after the Pleasant Hill Board of Education voted unanimously in favor of making masks a requirement in its educational settings.

Reporter Brian Johnson said "people were actually throwing fists and hitting each other" during the chaos, which only dissipated once sheriff's deputies arrived on the scene.

Several officers were reportedly called out to the school to deal with the disturbance, while at least one man was filmed being led away in handcuffs.

The decision to introduce a mask mandate was reportedly prompted by a rise in the number of COVID-19 cases being reported across the district.

KMBC says 7 percent of the district's population is currently in quarantine because of COVID-19, including 180 staff and students.

News of the board's final decision was met with anger by those opposed to masks in schools, many of whom reportedly began chanting in protest at the move.

There is currently no mask mandate for schools in Cass County and no social distancing rules are in place in classrooms. School districts have the power to vote in such measures.

In a statement to Newsweek, Pleasant Hill Police confirmed that at around 8pm on Tuesday "officers were dispatched to Pleasant Hill High School parking lot to assist the Cass County Sheriff's Department on a disturbance."

"Upon arrival of Pleasant Hill officers, Cass County deputies advised they had one subject detained for an altercation with a subject taking a video on their phone."

"Pleasant Hill officers were given the names of three subjects involved in the altercation. Those three subjects were issued Pleasant Hill municipal citations for disorderly conduct," the statement added.

"All subjects in the school parking lot were then dispersed and asked to leave school property."

Newsweek has also contacted Cass County Sheriff's Department for comment.

The use of face coverings to help curb the spread of COVID-19 remains a contentious topic in Missouri.

This week, a cafe in Blue Springs is attempting to circumvent rules requiring patrons to wear masks by turning into a private club.

Rae's Cafe was ordered to shut down on September 3 by the Jackson County health department, following complaints that staff were not complying with county mandates that everyone must wear masks indoors in public places, regardless of their vaccination status.

Instead, the owner has come up with a plan to keep the venue open by adding a sign explaining that his business now operates as a "private club" and is therefore exempt from the rules.

Earlier in September, Missouri's attorney general said minors could ignore mandates issued in Kansas City and Jackson County requiring masks be worn in indoor public settings.

Attorney General Eric Schmitt said anyone under the age of 18 should be exempt in a lawsuit designed to stop the mandates.

This resistance comes despite several health care facilities across Missouri reporting that a number of children are being admitted with COVID-19 symptoms so severe they are being treated in intensive care.

Update 9/8/21, 11:55 a.m. ET: This article was updated to add a comment from Pleasant Hill Police.

A man being handcuffed by police.
Stock photo of a man being handcuffed by police. A man was filmed being handcuffed by police after a Missouri school board meeting descended into violence. IPGGutenbergUKLtd/Getty