The Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District Board members haven’t been able to conduct their two regularly scheduled meetings this month because people kept refusing to mask up in the meeting chambers.
School board President Carrie Buck adjourned two January board meetings this month – less than five minutes after they began.
Now, she’s calling for a special meeting next Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. for a board vote to switch to online meetings for a month.
“This will be (a) safe way everyone can be heard,” reads a tweet posted Wednesday on Buck’s Twitter page.
Buck did not reply to a request for comment on the special meeting nor did she answer Voice of OC questions on the adjournments last week.
Placentia-Yorba Linda is the only Orange County school district that cancelled meetings for people refusing to wear masks, although Los Alamitos trustees took a couple of breaks from their Tuesday meeting over the same issue.
Los Alamitos trustees ended up meeting in an alternate room later that night allowing members of the press in and the public was allowed to follow online.
Meanwhile Buck’s decision to abruptly end the meetings has garnered mixed reaction from parents.
Some parents are happy that Buck is taking a stand and some people on social media have applauded the idea of the district holding their meetings online.
Others are in an uproar over the adjournments, while questioning the legality of Buck ending meetings in this manner.
Some have also called to remove Buck from the elected school board.
Issues like masks and vaccine mandates have been flashpoints of debate among district trustees, parents, students and teachers at the Placentia-Yorba Linda school district and others throughout OC.
Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District officials passed a resolution by a narrow 3-2 vote last summer calling for a revision of the State’s Department of Public Health guidance on masks.
Trustees Marilyn Anderson, Leandra Blades and Shawn Youngblood voted in favor of the resolution.
Buck and Trustee Karin Freeman voted against it.
Griffiths said in her email last week that the district’s mask requirements are in alignment with the state’s requirements, which mandate masks indoors.
“These requirements were outlined before the start of the school year in the district’s Return to School Plan. We recently shared this letter with all staff and families to answer some questions we were receiving about masks,” she wrote.
On the agenda of the school board meeting that keeps coming to a quick and abrupt end is a resolution urgently requesting Gov. Gavin Newsom to reconsider his expected COVID vaccine mandate for students to go to classrooms.
A state bill was introduced this week that, if passed, would add the COVID-19 shot to California’s list of required vaccines for attending K-12 schools.
Another bill introduced this month, if passed, would allow children to get vaccinated – including the COVID shot – without parental consent.
Following adjournment of the Jan. 19 meeting, Trustees Youngblood and Blades stuck around and held impromptu town hall meetings – some people were not wearing masks including the two trustees.
Neither of the two replied to request for comment on the special meeting nor requests for comments on the adjournment last week.
People at the town hall spoke out against masks and the expected vaccine mandate.
The day prior to the meeting a rally was held outside the Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified District office over the expected student vaccine mandate and masks from the state.
The district put out a statement about the rally.
“PYLUSD recognizes that there are mixed reactions to COVID-19 mandates and guidance,” reads the statement. “We also understand that the circumstances surrounding COVID-19 mandates and guidance can be confusing and frustrating at times for our students, staff, families, and members of the community.”
Griffiths said the agendas of the adjourned meetings will be incorporated into the next regular scheduled meeting on Feb. 8.
Hosam Elattar is a Voice of OC Reporting Fellow. Contact him at email@example.com or on Twitter @ElattarHosam.
And since you’ve made it this far,
You are obviously connected to your community and value good journalism. As an independent and local nonprofit, our news is accessible to all, regardless of what they can afford. Our newsroom centers on Orange County’s civic and cultural life, not ad-driven clickbait. Our reporters hold powerful interests accountable to protect your quality of life. But it’s not free to produce. It depends on donors like you.