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‘Please unmask our kids!’: Crowd brings hot debate to Bend-La Pine School Board

Several parents urged not requiring masks in schools again this fall; doctors' letter urged continuing mask rules

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Dozens of passionate parents showed up at the Bend-La Pine School Board meeting Tuesday evening to voice their opinions on whether young students should still be required to masks in school this fall.

"I implore you -- do your job and please, unmask our kids! The burden of proof lies on you,” parent Dr. Michelle Mattingly said.

Bend-La Pine Schools officials said about 130 people attended the meeting. The most passionate comments opposed continued mask-wearing for elementary school students in the fall.

"I believe there is sufficient evidence that the risks outweigh the benefits of masking healthy children,” Mattingly said. 

During the meeting, board member Amy Tatom read a letter signed by physicians and medical providers in the district.

"We ask that you continue to mandate masks for elementary school aged children while indoors at least until they can be fully vaccinated,” Tatom said, quoting the letter. 

The letter signers said they support "evidence-based and scientifically sound decisions."

The school district said it has not yet decided whether to require masks for unvaccinated young children, and is waiting on further state guidance.

The Oregon Department of Education's most recent “Ready Schools, Safe Learners Guidance,” published June 25, states it "strongly advises face coverings for all students grades kindergarten and up while inside."

Newly elected board member Marcus LeGrand, sworn into office Tuesday, said the meeting was a learning experience and he appreciated everyone's passion, but encouraged everyone on hand to understand the board's priority is to support and protect the children.

"That's what we're here to do, is to try and make this community stronger, not divided,” LeGrand said. “But if you're here to divide and here to have only one agenda, do me a big favor and stay home."

The Redmond School District will not require mask use. The Crook and Jefferson county school districts are also waiting for more state guidance next week.

Bend / Central Oregon / Education / La Pine / News / Top Stories / video - DO NOT USE
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Noah Chast

Noah Chast is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Noah here.



  1. Well stated, Mr. LeGrande! It will take strong leaders like you to prevent public meetings from dissolving into free-for-alls. I fear that the followers of extreme irrational points of view would love it if they could inject confusion and disruption into our civic life on a continuing basis.

    1. I say keep the poor little “Blue-Hoo-Hoo” Demokrat children in Da-Shoots masked up for another school year… or go back to on-line distance learning… remember- we will destroy our state economy till we “flatten the curve” baby ! We’re all in this together !! Keep that misery index under Kovid Kate climbin’ !!! Votes and failed recalls have consequences !

        1. Our great and true president Donald J. Trump will handle this when he is rightfully and triumphantly reinstated next month. God is on his side!!

      1. Recent report from U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis:
        States with more stringent interventions had on average better economic outcomes and better health outcomes.

        1. Confusion and disruption? The mask mandate is off except for the children who rarely get COVID anyway? That’s not confusing? Disruption? Someone states a different opinion than yours and it is disruption?? You are clearly one of the sheep that are following to slaughter!

            1. How many have died ? And in Oregon- how many of these “kids” have died ? What about the seasonal flu… wanna bet which is more lethal to children ?

    2. Agreed, well said LeGrand! 4 million dead globally and people think we don’t need to take it seriously. Mind bending. As a parent of 2 school age children, the children are already used to the masks, they think nothing of it. Though the most kiddos have minimum symptoms what about unfortunate kids who have pre-existing kids and don’t have an option to be vaccinated. People are so selfish these days.

      1. If the vaccine is so effective and safe, then why is those why have had it so afraid of people not wearing masks? If you want to wear a mask then where one! If you want to force your child to wear one, then force them to. But don’t tell my child or me what to do. If you have had the vaccine, then you should be safe right? If you are afraid of everything then STAY HOME!!

          1. Go ahead- tell us more about this well being thing- with suicide and mental health issues through the roof the past 17 months- economic ruin- financial despair- drug and alcohol abuse- just what study are you quoting that states lock-downs- shutdowns- and meltdowns are a “well being” thing ! Go ahead now- put up or shut up- and take Martha with you.

          1. Your plandemic fizzled out 17 months ago when the curve flattened then the shenanigans began. Change the terminology- shut down schools even tho the virus has little to no effect on children- put ill and healthy elderly together in a room- lockdowns after a few new cases and a handful of geriatric deaths. Its a mild virus- stop being stoopid.

    1. Ramble on if you must but calling children wearing masks during a world wide pandemic “child abuse” is flat out wrong!!! Child abuse is a serious thing. Protecting our children till they can be vaccinated is responsible and caring. Do your research. 30% of children that get covid get long covid. This could cause major health issues for the rest of their lives. Ever travel??? I have met people who had polio as children. My kids will be wearing masks till they can be vaccinated.

      1. “Polio” was never classified by medical professionals as a “mild” virus. Many of you still struggle with basic concept that the virus… well… it aint “EBOLA” !

  2. Dr Michele Mattingly. The new hero of the right! Before you all get too excited realize that she’s a ND. So, yeah. Support the medical opinion of a whacko left-wing acupuncturist!😂

  3. Better yet take yo chilluns out of these govt union thug run “progressive” hell holes dressed up as lavish estates.
    You can insure they receive a moral curriculum, you know because YOU are the parents, and of course won’t be brow beaten into hiding behind the lefty face diaper of shame.
    Public school buildings can then be repurposed to sanitariums for unfortunate citizens who cannot care for themselves for whatever mental reason ie drugs alcohol schizophrenia. They need to get o the street ODOT “campgrounds.” Parole violators and absconded get locked up period.
    The state is awash in cash to sustain such a plan by drastically paring down or obliterating all state agencies particularly Department of Education.

  4. Kalamity Kate shutdown the school system on March 12th 2020- Oregon had 31 cases- and a handful of geriatric deaths- with underlying conditions. Today- we have more than 10,000 active cases- new variants, averaging 3 deaths a day, entering a sixth surge, a vaccine with a 6% failure rate, breakthrough cases increasing, all non FDA approved vaccines… and she wants to open the state like the Covid never happened ? Complete insanity !

    1. The money’s right for her to be doing this. We’ll have to 👀if the delta variant will explode as the media is saying if she will reinstitute masks

      1. Funny isn’t it- as I now sound exactly like you Trump hater’s from 17 months ago- but now the shoe is on the Biden foot- and you can’t stand it !

  5. Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t the school board work for the community/tax payers? This is the second board member that believes they can tell us what to do.
    To make the statement that ” if you come here with an agenda, just stay home.”
    REALLY!? Hey moron, most people that come to a school board meeting have an agenda, they are exercising their right to speak at a public forum. I don’t know what leftist country you come from, but you should fix your brain.
    Is what you were really saying is, if someone’s agenda isn’t in line with what your selling, then stay home.
    Spoken like a true leftist. You work for the public, you don’t give orders to the public.
    Is what really gets lost in this, this community voted your dumb %%$^ to the board, which fits with what has moved into Bend, from the cesspool to the north and south.
    The CDC has never backed off from their original data, COVID HAS NOT SPREAD IN THE SCHOOLS. Especially elementary schools,kids that age are not spreading it, and most of the adults that went off that cliff all together are vaccinated, so why is the school board even going there.
    Redmond schools are not masking in the fall, they must of read the data, and I can bet their school board isn’t telling people what to do, they are working for the people.

  6. This is absurd. The display, the demands, the inability to understand how guidance is created or why. The lack of understanding on evidence-based practices. Obnoxious. Glad I’m not on the board. Leaders better prepare themselves, this is descending itself across the board – anti-science conspiracy theorists.

    1. The school board works for the parents and students within the district. Those parents and students should be heard no matter what side of the issue they fall on. The data is very clear when it comes to elementary age kids contracting COVID, it is very rare. The deaths in this age group are almost non-existent. Mandating masks in this age group never made sense and still doesn’t.

      1. 30% get long-haul covid with the new variant so, whatever you want to believe. The board isn’t going against state. That’s just a waste of a meeting and a meaningless spectacle.

  7. The local iteration of Moms for Liberty is (as you may guess) part of a national organization which is currently railing against the recently uncovered boogeyman CRT in states like Florida and Tennessee. Many of the groups that sprung up as racist Tea Party opponents to Barack Obama were originated in extremist think tanks and funded by the Koch Brothers and other wealthy societal disrupters. Moms for Liberty’s aim to discredit educational institutions is in line with similar attempts by others to undermine faith in elections and the military. The brawl created at Congresswoman Katie Porter’s outdoor town hall this past weekend may be an ominous sign of an uptick in deliberate disruption designed to paralyze our civic life. Stay strong, school board members; you are conducting yourselves absolutely appropriately. You are on the frontlines to protect our democracy.

  8. at the beginning of the video the reporter says there didnt seem to be a consensus? when the entire room erupts in applause i would say there is a consensus. And the arrogant new school board member telling people to stay home if you are there to divide? im certain no one is there to divide; the politicization of this virus has done enough division in this country and those that use fear mongering to keep this thing going need to just stop.

    1. Staged political rally. Perhaps there should be a parent survey. A vote. And then do what boards do everywhere regarding this issue and follow state directives. So, that’s it. Science and democracy, not who organized themselves for a staged ambush on school board.

      1. They are all governed by the same system in the end. With the exception of private schools, all the schools are governed by the same system.

  9. Considering the quality of thought they contributed to the meeting, I’m surprised these parents managed to figure out how to open the door to get in the building.

  10. Classic conservative. Make up numbers (deaths are close to zero, not three), complain about things you don’t actually care about (like covid), and complain that something you want is actually happening (like opening the state up).

  11. Great reporting KTVZ. You deliberately didn’t report that the school board was pressed for the names of the doctors recommending the masks and were told it was none of their business. Seems to me if they are considering following the advice the community should know who they were.
    Also forgot to mention that the police were called when someone walked into the meeting because there were already 50 people and the fire code was suddenly a huge issue. Nor did you mention that a school board member called a person in attendance a racist for just mentioning CRT. That is UNACCEPTABLE behavior from a school board member. That same member went on to nominate someone for vice-chair using the wording “Because we need to give a hand to our people with color so they are represented.” Was that not also racist?
    Seems to me the pot can call the kettle black, but the black kettle cannot question the pot.

    1. That’s not racism. When a subgroup disrespects a dominant group in overwhelming structually placed positions of power since the beginning of the country,it’s not racism. Mean, sure, but not racism. Racism is systemic. It feels personal one on one and that can hurt, ve mean, and even criminal at times, but thats not what is meant by racism. Racism is structural systems of oppression so pervasive that it causes wealth, education, and public health disparities in measurable ways. The evidence is overwhelming.

      1. Wrong. Racism can come from any group whether it be what you call the “dominant” group or minority group. True racism is simply prejudice based on race or ethnicity. It can be systematic but usually is not. When you choose a position, give money to, or hire a person based on their race, that is racism plain and simple. More racism does not help get rid of racism. End it all. No one is better than another.

        1. Sorry, but I’m clearly better than you. Kidding. Same argument as a serial cheater, but it was just once, for a little while. Wrong. The measurable disparities indicate that positive thinking doesn’t miraculously end structures of racism. Dominant groups are not being systemically oppressed by people of color. Equity feels like oppression for Dominant groups. We get it. We see it. We are not impressed.

          1. Ah the wonderful term of “equity”. Equity and equality are very different however people through these terms around like they mean the same thing. They do not. Only true race baiters are trying to infuse the “equity” terminology into discussions. MLK jr, Bob Woodson, Alveda King did not and do not use the term equity as they understand that it leads to more racism. By your methodology a black man who attacks at random a white women on the street due to her skin color he is not performing a racist act because he is in an so called “oppressed group”? That is a disgusting argument and flys in the face of the very definition of racism. This is also the methodology behind CRT and why so many believe it is divisive, destructive, and creating an entire generation of young people with a victim mentality where someone else owes them something.

          2. Quit calling one group “dominant” based on their skin color, thats racist. I don’t think we should call certain groups of people “dominant” and the other group “people of color”. I personally don’t think white people are dominant to people with darker skin color. You know why? Because that’s straight up racist.

            1. Wrong. “Nothing to do with subgroups,” you mean racism has nothing to do with minorities? According to whom? The majority? Or the minority? Who is informing the majority? A spokesperson for the minority or data? Data is clear. Racism is real, systemic, and all about the majority at the expense and even exploitation of the minority. Race is a factor in disparities. Just stop. It’s exhausting and quite frankly, not very loving. Peace out.

              1. You just make assertions and then back up with meaningless questions and statements that go no where. It’s straightforward, racism is attributing false characteristics to a group and the individuals that belong to that group to try to gain superiority and typically affects minorities more often. Any person can be racist, prejudiced or bigoted and skin tone is irrelevant to who can be a racist.

                However, there may be a communication gap here. It may be that what you are saying is that to the degree racism exists in our society, minorities will see more of it due to population dynamics: I agree. I assume white racists outnumber black racists and thus the black minority will face more racism than the majority. But given the public displays of black prejudice and blatant racism against all whites, there may be as many black racists as white. Let’s not go down that road.

                There isn’t any one person or group informing the “majority” or “minority”. We as a society determine what words mean and what is valuable. A highly prejudiced group doesn’t get to redefine language unilaterally for the entire population. Your insistence that minorities can be as racist as they want because they aren’t the majority only suggests to me that black people really want their turn at being racists, and I am sure the true white racists are taking note.

                So far as the data goes, can you give me a simple example of where racism is the only cause of a difference? There is plenty of data I am aware of showing multigeneration blacks commit violent crimes, divorce and fail economically at much higher rates than whites as a group, and every other minority group. However, differences between racial groups can be explained by many different factors. If racism is the only explanation you have for any and all differences then you don’t know how to acquire and interpret data, and you are an ideologue blinded by emotion and irrationality.

                I have seen for decades that blacks aren’t doing well and do have some empathy. But I have seen that every other minority group does much better. Even African immigrants and 1st generation black Americans do better socioeconomically than multigeneration blacks – so “systemic racism” doesn’t fit the fact pattern very well now does it?

                Finally, I don’t hate people with darker skin tone: I find the division of the skin tone spectrum to be too elementary and minimally useful in current times. People are mixing up the gene pool from all over the world and this will only increase. I wish “black people” would embrace their humanity and see the humanity in everyone else around them and not exacerbate division by perseverating on skin tone. I wish they would find their own internal strength and realize the poor self esteem they are suffering doesn’t come from the outside, but from the inside.

              2. The majority of the so called “minority” subgroup actually disagree with you and don’t believe there is systemic racism in this country. I have quite a few friends who would fall into your nice little categories that will tell you the majority of racial disparities come from the fact that an African American baby has a 64% chance of being born into a split family where a white baby has a 24% chance. No one is forcing fatherless babies to be born except the individuals involved.

              3. While I agree with a lot of what you say, it’s problematic in some aspects. Unlike in the US, white slave owners in the Caribbean were very much outnumbered by people of color. The minority group occasionally holds the real power at the expense of the majority. Take our wonderful years with the fat orange coward at the helm.

  12. The 4 right wing kook, reality challenged, unethical republican school board candidates got trounced 2 to 1 by this community in the election in May. Are they incapable of facing reality? Apparently so. I am getting tired of being bullied by these loud mouths that dwell in fantasyland and make it their mission to sow division in our community, all the while acting like victims. They epitomize the tyranny of the minority.

    1. so the BLM violent riots aren’t meant to intimidate and you aren’t tired of them? If this small elderly group is a bully, then what is Antifa?

    1. Gee Wishy, maybe it’s because the Surgeon General came out today and declared people like you, purveyors of false information a serious threat to the public health…..

      1. “purveyors of false information” ??? As I quote and provide links to the OHA- John Hopkins- and the CDC ? Are they now considered a serious threat to the public? I’d say it’s more that people like you and your kancel kulture Nazi attitude can’t openly debate the facts- I’m known for my famous sign off- “Go ahead- Prove me wrong” !

    1. Barney – he’s literally having a breakdown. You have his info, right? Have you contacted someone to arrange a well-check? This is terrifying.

      1. One line Personal attacks are for ding-dong dimwits who can’t engage in a respectful, tolerant, and civil discussion without blowing a gasket.

    1. You can always home school the children growing up in homes teaching them to be scared of their own shadow, and a disease that has little to no effect on them. Darn facts.

        1. Nice cherry pick of articles to link to. I can also do that.😂 I also work in the schools and see the entire picture with the mental and physical aspect including children that already have high anxiety levels and now think the student next to them will kill them if they take off their mask to eat a string cheese. Brilliant! No long term stress effects there! Ridiculousness at its finest.

          1. Nice. I hope you’re full of it and work nowhere near children. That thought scares the hell out of me. Especially since you seem to equate a study in a scholarly journal with a newspaper article giving the opinion of some quack from West Virginia’s opinion on a single case in Missouri. Can you read? You obviously have a hard time wrapping your head around critical thinking.

      1. “Mississippi health officials are reporting seven children with COVID are currently being treated in the ICU. Two of them are on ventilators.” ABC NEWS. Darn facts just keep messing with your agenda.

    2. Agreed. I don’t see what the big deal is…wear a mask. Do your kids wear underwear when they leave the house? Then a face mask is no big deal. Both body parts can still “breathe” when covered. Kids in other parts of the world and Adults wear mask daily. American kids aren’t any different, besides overly spoiled and over weight.. no reason they can’t wear a mask too. So unless they are on tanked oxygen….. WEAR a MASK…wether you are a child or adult. Also, wear the mask correctly…OVER your mouth and Nose. What’s the big deal? When and if you can get vaccinated. It is abuse to purposely allow your 12 and above aged kids to not be vaccinated. And beyond stupid to not wear a mask. If you don’t understand the science, common sense, or medical reasons for wearing a mask at this point, maybe you should consider going back to school and sitting with your kids to learn that stuff again. Why doom yourself, kids, neighbors, and family members to long haul covid and health. Issues fo the next 60 years. Move on and wear a mask if not, stay home and be sick together and be happy that you chose to allow your kids permanent health problems the rest of their lives or killing your family members and neighbors…Good luck sleeping at night! This isn’t the Flu. So quit acting like it is. This a a new style of virus and has long lasting and lifetime health problems, last time I checked, the Flu doesn’t leave you with heart damage and brain damage, etc. So quit acting like covid is “the flu”. Wear a mask and get vaccinated.

  13. If the vaccines are so effective and safe, then what are you all so afraid of? You should be embarrassed to be pushing an agenda that you don’t even believe in yourself! That is not much confidence in what you claim to believe in! If you are vaccinated, then you should be safe right? If not, then why did you get one?

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