Anchorage School Board President Margo Bellamy warned the audience at the school board meeting on Tuesday that they must wear a mask at all times, even when testifying. She just didn’t specify what kind of mask.
Most of the testifiers at the meeting appeared to be recruited by the board to support the school district’s masking policy, and they wore the usual non-effective masks, as required. But then there was Dustin Darden.
Darden, who has shown up to public meetings during the past year with a paper bag on his head in protest of such masking orders, wore a shirt over his head to the meeting, and he sat in the front row.
When it was his time to speak, he started in with his usual fire-and-brimstone remarks when one of the members of the school board, who did not identify himself, asked that Darden remove the shirt from his head.
“This is my face covering, sir,” Darden said.
“We have a point of order, and if you will uncover your face you may speak to the board,” Bellamy told him.
Bellamy ordered him to remove it, and he took the shirt off of his head, showing his face.
“Where is your mask? You need a mask!” Bellamy said.
“That was my mask,” Darden said.
“Would you get Mr. Darden a mask please?” Bellamy said to someone somewhere, although it was unclear who she was speaking to. (Such are the limitations of watching school board meetings from a safe social distance.)
While that someone was busy looking for a mask, Darden started again, speaking of Jesus Christ in the cadence of a tent revivalist. The mask never seemed to show up.
Within seconds, however, Darden’s mic was cut by whomever was running the sound system, and soon the camera that allows the public to watch the meeting from home focused the lens onto the wall behind the school board, making Darden unseen and unheard to those watching from home. The audio-visual technician appeared to be working on orders to prevent the public from witnessing any dissent. During the last school board meeting, the public was passionately opposed to
“Mr. Darden, you are out of order. you need a face covering on to continue to talk. And that is not an appropriate face cover,” Bellamy said.
Darden put the shirt back on his head, according to those in the room.
The board took a five minute break, before which Bellamy could be heard telling Darden he had lost his 3 minutes of testimony time.
After Darden had left the room the camera resumed working as expected to show the public what was going on in the room, which was just people milling around.