After the Sept. 27 Eastern Carver County School Board open forum, where many attendees spoke out against a district-wide mask mandate now in effect, Monday night's meeting told a different story.
With 50-some mostly masked attendees, a dozen speakers took to the microphone for three minutes each. Most supported masks and voting "yes" on a Nov. 2 referendum vote.
At the Oct. 25 forum, held in the Chaska High School auditorium, two Chaska Police officers were present and School Board Chair Jeffrey Ross reminded everyone to remain respectful.
A Carver resident faces charges of fifth-degree misdemeanor assault and disorderly conduct following an altercation at last month's forum, according to an Oct. 14 complaint in Carver County District Court.
Jonas Sjoberg, an alleged victim in the Sept. 27 altercation, spoke first Monday night. He talked about coming together peacefully, as well as everyone’s right to speak their minds.
“I support the school board. I support you, and I reject violence. If you do the same to the community, I urge you to vote in the referendum and vote yes,” Sjoberg said.
“I implore you to take education seriously,” said Chaska High School senior Eliana Hanson. “But I know with the compassion and generosity you’ve always shown towards the community, you’ll want to rise above the strife and continue to provide the best possible futures of the children of our district by voting yes.”
Superintendent Lisa Sayles-Adams called the referendum question “a very important vote” and encouraged everyone to find information on the school district’s website, at the regular board meeting, held later at the District Education Center that night.
Lucas Bishop, Chaska High School student representative, addressed the ongoing mask mandate at the regular school board meeting,
“Honestly, it hasn't really changed much,” Bishop said. “Obviously, people would rather not be wearing masks, but when it comes down to it, students are willing to wear masks and go home.”
At the meeting, School Board officials also discussed declining district enrollment after losing 360 students this year. Since most students stay in the district when enrolled in kindergarten, officials said focusing on recruiting younger students could be key in increasing enrollment.