The Northwest Allen County Schools board – which has drawn months of heated public comment that began over the mask mandate – issued a statement Wednesday condemning threats to its educators.
The statement, which board President Kent Somers first read at the June 28 meeting, asks people to demonstrate respect towards those with whom they may disagree.
“We are issuing this statement after learning that threats may have been made, or at least implied, against NACS representatives,” the board said. “To be clear, we fully support the First Amendment and the right to engage in legitimate disagreement, but we must unequivocally condemn any threat to our educators.”
The statement didn't provide details about the threats. District spokeswoman Lizette Downey said tensions elevated from the initial debate around mask protocols and spilled onto social media, where provocative language prompted reports to law enforcement.
People began packing board meetings in March to address the mask mandate, filling such venues as Carroll High School's cafeteria and auditorium. The audience has decreased in recent weeks, but Downey said larger-than-usual crowds continued to fill seats as recently as Monday to criticize leadership.
Uniformed sheriff's officers have monitored recent meetings.
The board stressed none of its five members has reported any threats necessitating involvement of law enforcement, but other allegations of safety concerns about NACS employees were forwarded to the district's chief operating officer for investigation with police. “Anyone engaging in such conduct – regardless of how it is communicated or their viewpoint – should expect the assistance of law enforcement to be requested,” the board said.