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Crook County parents protest state mask mandate at school board meeting

(Update: Adding video, comments)

'I will come after you!' says one parent

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The Crook County School Board held an in-person meeting Monday evening, and they got an earful from several parents and students upset by the continued state mask mandate for in-school activities and some sports.

With state mask mandates for public schools still in place across the state for students on campus, several parents stepped up to the podium during the public comment section to voice their objections and concerns.

Jessica Lay, the mother of Savannah Lay, who collapsed last month, was one of the main speakers calling on the board to remove the mask mandates for students set by state school, sports and health officials.

Lay questioned why her daughter must be forced to wear something that nearly killed her during a Crook County High School basketball practice.

"Are you going to wait for a child to die before you make a change?" Lay said. "I'm putting the following on notice ODE, OHA, OHSA, all the way up to Governor Brown. You do not have the right to knowingly harm my child with policies you know are not supported by science."

Lay's daughter, Savannah, says she refuses to wear a mask after her traumatic experience, which has kept her sidelined from the team.

"You took my season away from me, and I will never get that back," Lay said. "It's your job as leaders of this school to keeps kids safe, not to harm them." 

Other parents described the mask mandates as "Orwellian" and compared the actions of Gov. Kate Brown to Nazi Germany.

Another speaker, Scott Steward, stood at the podium for nearly 25 minutes to voice his frustrations.

"Why are we following a tyrannical despot, out of control public official by the name of Kate Brown? Why?" Steward said. "We've been told by the University of Oregon president I can't go watch football unless I've been vaccinated or got a mask on. Who does that, people? I mean seriously, are we in Cuba, Venezuela, China? I mean what is this? Is this the United States of America?"

Jennifer Stevens, another mother frustrated with mask mandates, became visibly upset as she aired her concerns.

"We have Communist, Marxist people trying to take over this country, and it is time to take our kids and train them up to be leaders to stand for our freedom -- and that is not freedom," Stevens said. "Because I'm telling you what, I am a mother who is fearless, and I will come after you! I will come after you!"

Brian O'Connor, a retired Crook County High teacher and a Navy veteran, says he wanted to keep things "short" and "sweet" for the board.

"Have some gumption -- tell Salem where to pack it, and do what's right for your people," O'Connor said.

Speakers were technically given three minutes to stand at the podium, but the board let everyone speak freely, sometimes for 20 minutes or more.

School Board Chair Scott Cooper echoed many of the public comments, saying, "This has got to end."

Cooper also mentioned that he expects the state mask mandates to end either later this week or early next week, following the actions taken by California.

Author Profile Photo

Alec Nolan

Alec Nolan is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Alec here.



  1. While I understand parents wanting to protect their children in the ways they see as best, comparing a very common practice of mask wearing to avoid or control an epidemic (we are in a pandemic) is common practice in several countries. It’s courteous and it helps when vaccines are not distributed. The vaccines are widely accessible and the July 4th deadline is quickly approaching. There will be a time when no one cares what you do or don’t because those who want the vaccine will have it and those who don’t will live with that choice however that looks for them. I think comparing to Nazi Germany is a wild stretch by any imagination, hyperbole, and quite frankly a highly disrespectful comparison. Further, people in Central Oregon have died, are dealing with complications, and health care workers have sacrificed. This is one of those times in history when loving your neighbor is an easy choice. Wear a mask for a short time and then move on.

        1. Lol! Poorly educated people with tiny little lives and minds whining endlessly about a 1oz. Piece of cloth!!! So pathetic, nothing better to do,like get a job!!! Soooooooo much losing Karen!!!!

    1. Hyperbole is all these people have. Comparing wearing masks to Nazi Germany shows how truly ignorant they are of history. They just want to keep their children as ignorant and selfish as they are, which is sad.

      1. Actually it’s really not. Do you think for a moment all the Nazi soldiers were on board to carry out the massive injustices against the Jewish people??? The psychology of the average soldier tended to be that they were obeying orders and were required to do so whether they agreed or not. Not so different that mask mandates, closing down your business, etc. No doubt lesser severity of ramifications but history will always repeat itself unless we remember it in all its ugliness, learn from it, and vow never to do it again. May I see your vaccination papers?

        1. Give me a break. Nobody is taking families homes away from them, taking their jobs from them, making them live in ghettos, putting them on trains to concentration camps and eventually gas chambers. Put a stupid mask on and stop your whining.

    2. Where have you been, LoveWins? Only 14 states still have mask mandates and none of them if someone if fully vaccinated…….except Oregon. The rates are the same or lower in those states who have done away with masks and opened their economies. Loving your neighbor is great and advice kate brown should take. She has destroyed small businesses, blamed covid failures on everyone around her including her constituency, and refuses to open up the state. It’s not like all covid goes away with a 70% vaccination rate. I love my neighbor in that I don’t pass judgement on them protecting their health anyway they desire until they start telling me I’m responsible for their health. Each of us is personally responsible for ourselves. And PS – the statement to “wear a mask for a short time and move on” is highly relative. I don’t call 15 months a short time.

      1. Absolutely agree. The mask mandate initially was reasonable, but emergencies don’t last 15 months, and mask usage, for whatever reason, hasn’t been studied to see under what specific circumstances they significantly reduce transmission risk. Some people are wearing them so they “signal” they aren’t conservative despite the vaccine being available to everyone and even if they are vaccinated. Finally, the vaccine is new technology that hasn’t been studied long term and there is some evidence there may be harm (activation of CYTOTOXIC T-lymphocytes). However, the necessary discussion around this seems to be suppressed. To those who say “We are all in this together”, don’t judge anyone for not wearing a mask or getting the vaccination. The science isn’t nearly settled.

        For those wanting a very reasoned discussion on the vaccines and ivermectin: Brett Weinstein Darkhorse podcasts have quite a bit of scientific reasoning.
        Covid treatment corruption:
        Spike protein is dangerous:

  2. It’s also patriotic. Anyone who was vaccinated in Redmond will appreciate the service members and volunteers who served so that our communities were safer. If they can serve, so can your kids. Kids, this is a lesson in compassion and sacrifice. It won’t be long before you are enjoying life. For now, you are part of a loving collective movement to help your broader community. You should feel proud of yourselves. You have a story to share with your grandkids.

    1. Well said. Unfortunately whining and consuming one’s life with pathetic, inane and meaningless gripes is the trump way!!!! Sooooo much losing for these people!!!! ROTFLMAO!!!!

  3. A maskless customer in Georgia shot and killed the cashier who was trying to enforce the stores well-advertised “No mask No service” policy. SMH@TheRabidRight

  4. As much as some folks want to be incorporated into Idaho, you aren’t! This is Oregon…wear your mask, get vaccinated so we can all move on!!!! Ditto on LoveWins….it is patriotic! If you all are so pro America you got to be pro American. Take care of you community so we don’t have your neighbors getting covid because you won’t vax or mask!

  5. I wish these people who scream “just like Nazi Germany” everytime they get their panties in a bunch would maybe read up on what actual Nazi Germany was like.

    You see any cattle cars lined up to take you to a death camp because you aren’t wearing a mask? Are you being forced against your will to vaccinate with a literal gun against your head? Are you being beaten or having your homes destroyed for your desire to be less inconvenienced? No. You’re just a entitled, whiney snowflake who is striving for the dramatic.

    That said…let the athletes play without masks.

      1. Not the sports one. That is set by a state organization. They can whine to them, the school board can’t do squat. And pitching a fit two days before the end of the school year is just theatrics.

    1. The problem with people who think they’re entitled is, they expect to get what they want without sacrifice. If all you anti-maskers don’t like it here, go explore North Korea, and talk your smack to Kim Jong Un. Then you’ll see first hand what communism is. The USA can beat this, but only as a team. So get on the team, or get out. It’s for the better good.

  6. To those who are so appalled to the Nazi Germany references, you and the (d) leader’s who have CUCKED you don’t mind referring to January 6th as an insurrection. By definition insurrection includes being armed, and the only people armed with the “barrels of a gun” was the government. You don’t mind that biden compared Jan 6th to the Civil War, chucky schumer compared Jan 6th to Peal Harbor, other (d)’s who CUCKED you, compared Jan 6th to 9/11. I didn’t see the killing of hundred of thousands of Americans like the Civil War. I didn’t see planes killing thousand of US Soldiers by bombing Naval vessels. I didn’t see planes crashing into building in any big city killing thousands of of Americans. But yet you and those who CUCKED you still make those same comparisons to Jan 6th. By the way the only person murdered at the end of a “gun barrel” was unarmed Air Force Veteran Ashley Babbitt, by an officer. If she was such a threat there were 4 police officer’s who moved over and let her go though that doorway. If she was such a deadly threat why didn’t they just grab her and take her into custody instead of standing to the side allowing her be murdered?

    1. And by definition….Armed: equipped with or carrying a weapon. Weapon: a thing used for inflicting bodily harm. Your attempts at dismissing what happened aren’t any better than those doing the opposite.

      1. Close:
        The law states: “As a discussion on the Internet grows longer, the likelihood of a comparison of a person’s being compared to Hitler or another Nazi reference, increases.”

        1. Godwin’s Law (period). The consequence of running afoul of said law goes way back to Usenet days. Guess I am showing my age and assuming people remember accepted premises.

    1. True and not true. 1/3rd of the state is democrat. The other 2/3rds is Republican country where the democrats come to play and vacation.. Unfortunately that 1/3rd has the majority of the voters…

  7. The most Prinetuckey thing I have ever seen. Why are they yelling at the school board about Kate Brown? Plus the threats. “I will come for you”. “I am putting you all on notice”? I think one lady was referencing Captain Underpants. Our society is doomed.

    I am not a Kate Brown fan and I think she is a tyrannical power hungry dictator, however I can’t support what happened at the board meeting. Embarrassing

    1. Yes, science deniers. Sort of like the Wuhan Lab leak. Or the belief that a baby’s life can be terminated outside the womb as long as the umbilical cord is attached!

  8. I find it so funny that the Trumpers out there crying about freedom not to wear masks are not crying about their freedom to smoke in grocery stores, the movie theater, restaurants, …

    Wear a mask. Get vaccinated. Your freedom to swing your fists ends at my face.

  9. One easy solution. Get the vaxx. The mask requirement will be lifted. Last I checked Crook County was @ 35% for vax status. The state is close to 70%. Once there things will shift.

    Be proactive and a part of the solution (moving forward), not reactive. Make a choice.

    For those who compare Oregon / Kate Brown to Nazi Germany, go find a person who lived through that ugly period in history. Look at photos of the survivors of Dachau, Auschwitz, Bergen Bergen. Not even the closest comparison. Your ignorance is showing when you make such ridiculous statements.

  10. The funny thing about a majority of these comments is that you demorats continue to prove what a bunch of bigoted hypocrites you really are. I can guarantee that if Trump was still in office telling you to get a vaccine you would all be screaming my body my choice. What a bunch of pathetic little children.

    1. Perhaps, but there is no way to “guarantee” a counterfactual. We do know for certain that Trump’s Warp Speed program kickstarted the development of the vax, Trump personally got the vax in January, Trump has publicly called for people to get the vax. But the vax/no vax fault line is breaking significantly along Democrat and Republican party lines and it’s the Republicans who are screaming. The true “pathetic little children” are the ones politicizing a health issue.

    2. Really? I’ve been getting vaccines for over 70 years. Anyone who needs a president to tell him/her to get a vaccine is pretty weak in the head.

  11. There was once a terrible hookworm problem, pervasive in the South among poor whites. They were called “dirt eaters”. Sadly, the doctors who wanted to educate on prevention and simple inexpensive cure had to be guarded by police. The Rockefeller Foundation funded the effort to help Peurto Rico with curing, preventing, and educating the population and had stellar outcomes. Yet, the Southerners were insulted by the idea that their hygiene was questioned. Mark Twain made many public comments poking fun at the unnecessary ignorance and suffering. Doctors were mocked and active opposition was rampant. So, the health officials had to work through a variety of publicly trusted entities and local officials – preachers and hookworm fighters. Picnics, gospel songs, testimonials. This helped. Yet, still many were unconvinced and suffered unnecessarily. They even tried compulsory efforts to force field workers to wear shoes, but people were adamant about their ‘rights’ and ‘liberty as citizens’. The laws never passed. There is a lesson here, kids. I will let you decide the moral of the story. Love wins.

    1. There once was a guilt-ridden WHITE LIBERAL Elitist who thought that anyone of color was beneath them and should be forced to take vaccines that aren’t fully approved just like their grandparents did to us over 50 years ago. And if we questioned this, we are put down for being ignorant. Guess what whitey? We have memories! We will not let a KKK-inspired president with a racist mouthed son named Hunter take any more of our freedoms! LoveWins my rearend! you are all about Hate!

      1. First, there are many good decaf alternatives that you might want to consider. Secondly, I am 100% there with you on not getting vaccinated. I am vaccinated as is everybody I know. Therefore, myself and my socialist/communist/antifa friends will not get COVID-19 (I’m doing the name-calling so you don’t have to – you can thank me in your reply)! The only bad side effect seems to be that I am very magnetic and I am currently stuck to my refrigerator door – somebody please help!. As for you and your lot… good luck 🙂

      2. MRNA technology has been in development for 40 years. The technology will be used to advanced cancer treatment, multiple sclerosis, and many other autoimmune disorders and viruses including flu. Instead of fearing this advanced technology, perhaps revisit your stocks and adjust your mindset to this amazing opportunity for humanity. Or remain upset and angry. As for me, my stock portfolio has more than doubled and I can travel freely. Maybe read some Mark Twain too. He loved western culture, legitimatized western authors when’elitists’ dismissed the wild west. He was also well-traveled and not politically correct for his time – a flawed an interesting character. You have a right to believe whatever you want. For me, I am teaching my kids to invest and to learn from history and science advances. No need for all this hatred. I’m sharing for those who need encouragement because I truly believe love really does win.

  12. God will always win and has proven love throughout all time wins, despite religious indoctrination. I hope your heart receives so much love that it is spilling over and you begin to see the underlying love story throughout human history and the stark differences between religious rigid ideology and love that is wider and deeper than we can possibly understand. I would rather die in love than fight with hate. Blessings to you and yours.

  13. Mask dont work? False.

    As you can see. They do. We not have a variant coming into the country that can get to you even if you have a vaccine. For those of us that have already had our family members taken from us INCLUDING CHILDREN, I have no sympathy for these parents or these children. Wear your mask. It’s as simple as that. IT IS NOT ABOUT YOU. Yes, it is sad that you have to miss your sports and activities. But not nearly as sad as being responsible for the death of someone. If you don’t believe in it, then take your kid out of school and teach him/her yourself. Then you can have all the sports you want. Do NOT try and shove your crap on us just because you want your kid in school and in sports. THAT IS NOT THE PRIORITY RIGHT NOW. We’ve had one of the lowest flu seasons on record. That should be enough proof that social distancing and mask work. They may not be 100% but NOTHING IS. It does not mean we just throw it all away. It means we try harder to stay safe and healthy. We persevere. That is the american way. THE PANDEMIC IS STILL HERE. So if you really need to have sports and other recreation, DO IT ON YOUR OWN HOME if you don’t want to wear a mask. One of the reason YOUR mask may not work is because you’re using a store bought handkerchief that was never meant to help in the first place. God bless you all and stay safe.

  14. KTVZ, you should provide the full story cotext that these upset “school” moms homeschool their kids and didn’t even have them in the school classrooms.

  15. It always amazes me that the same people who support foreigners pouring through our borders unchecked are trying to tell the rest to mask up and get vaccinated or else. Maybe katie should mandate that non-vaccinated people should be marked with a yellow badge.

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