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NORTHFIELD, OHIO – Sheriff deputies were called to the Nordonia Hills City School District board meeting Monday after a group of anti-mask protestors refused to wear masks indoors conflicting with the district mask policy.

“I asked them numerous times to please put on a mask because it is our board policy they just sat there where they argued or yelled,” said school board president Chad Lahrmer.

Lahrmer estimated a group of about 50 people protested outside prior to the meeting with a smaller number attending indoors.

“They purposely came into the meeting without masks,” he said. “We called the sheriff before the meeting even started to have them ready.”

Superintendent Joe Clark said some people in attendance were angry about the district’s mask mandate even though it was in place before students returned to classes on August 25. Lahrmer said the school board implemented a mask policy for K-12 students and all people who enter school buildings earlier this month.

“I don’t know the tension can be resolved,” said Clark. “I think this issue has become so political that people have dug in and taken their stance regardless of what science is telling us. So, I don’t know if there is resolution for it.”

Clark said the mask policy has already proven to be effective in keeping students in school despite several confirmed cases of COVID.

“What you’re seeing from lots of school districts in the area is huge numbers of kids being quarantined because they’re not wearing masks,” said Clark. “Whereas here in Nordonia we’ve had five positive cases of COVID since the school year started but only three kids have had to be quarantined so it shows that the policy is working.”

Lahrmer said he was told by deputies they cannot enforce a school mask mandate, however they escorted some people out of the building who were causing the disruption of the public meeting.