A back-to-school meeting at a Connecticut elementary school went awry after a group of parents vocally protested a student mask mandate, forcing the event to be cut short before confronting the governor directly.
Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont had to be escorted away by security after he was surrounded by a group of anti-mask protesters, fuming at his support for school mask mandates.
The heated standoff between the governor and the parents took place outside Highland Elementary School in Cheshire on Wednesday after he emerged from a mask roundtable, which had to be wrapped up early after protesters raised hell over a potential extension of a school mask mandate past September 30.
Footage from the meeting shows protesters chanting: “You are all criminals” and waving anti-mask signs at the governor.
#BREAKING: @GovNedLamont’s Back to School Rountable was hijacked by anti-mask parents who kept shouting at Lamont and the panel of local and state educational leaders in Cheshire. @FOX61News pic.twitter.com/BmJfYMRWoN— Matt Caron (@MattCaronTV) August 25, 2021
The discussion comes to an end as parents part of Unmask Our Kids Connecticut start shouting at all education stakeholders. “You all are criminals,” they say with anger pointed at Lamont. @RepAMNewsdesk pic.twitter.com/ZQ3CkEu0Lu— Lance Reynolds (@LanceRReynolds_) August 25, 2021
Parents Choice group interrupting the Governor’s round table discussion at Highland Elementary School pic.twitter.com/CmI5osk8YF— The Cheshire Herald (@CheshireHerald) August 25, 2021
The protesters were allegedly part of the ‘Unmask Our Kids Connecticut’ campaign organized by the Connecticut Liberty Party, which styles itself as an “active grassroots organization...promoting the American ideals of Liberty, Freedom & Individual Rights” in the state.
On Twitter, the group denounced the roundtable as the “COVID mandate educator celebration” and noted that while they do not necessarily approve of the parents’ conduct towards the governor, “people need to stand up and speak out.”
“This ends when WE THE PEOPLE end it,” the group said.
Parents found out about Lamont's appearance at the "COVID mandate educator celebration" garbage news conference.— CT LIBERTY RALLY (@CTLibertyRally) August 25, 2021
I am not saying I like this, but I'm also saying...
People need to stand up and speak out.
This ends when WE THE PEOPLE end it.https://t.co/GDn1u03VKc
The protest drew praise from the local Libertarian Party affiliate, while the state Democrats seized on the occasion to blame Republicans for not condemning the commotion immediately, although it’s unclear if the protesters were affiliated with any party.
Given the opportunity to condemn this disruptive, hostile behavior and promote civil discourse, the CT Republican chair instead says that requiring masks in schools is the first step in abolishing boards of education. It’s Q-level conspiracy madness and it infests the CT GOP. https://t.co/FnfWDKU8wV— Connecticut Dems (@CTDems) August 26, 2021
While the Connecticut GOP seemingly distanced itself from the hecklers, noting that there was “no proof that these protesters were even Republicans,” it nonetheless backed their cause.
“Parents from all political affiliation disapprove of Ned Lamont’s actions to wrest control of their children and their children’s education away from them,” state GOP chairman Ben Proto said.
The governor’s office, for its part, dismissed the protest as an act of “bullying.” Lamont’s spokesperson Max Reiss doubled down on the governor’s defense of school mask mandates, insisting they are backed both by science and educators and help to protect young, unvaccinated children.
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