Tempers calm at Gwinnett school board meeting after heated debate last month

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — It appears tensions over mask wearing evident at last month’s Gwinnett County School Board meeting have died down for the time being.

Extra security was in place for Thursday’s meeting, but there was little drama.

Tents used for security were set up outside and extra signs warning of no weapons line the stairs.

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In May, a large group of parents came to the school board meeting and refused to wear masks. The meeting was moved to another room as protesters remained and celebrated.

Channel 2 Gwinnett County Bureau Chief Tony Thomas was present at the meeting.

“First of all, it almost reminded me of a normal Gwinnett County School Board meeting,” Gwinnett School Superintendent Alvin Wilbanks told Thomas.

At first glance, the meeting did look almost like a normal school board meeting, but not entirely. After accusations of assault among audience members last month, anyone wanting to enter the district headquarters for the meeting were required to go through an extra security checkpoint.

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Before the meeting, a rally by the No Left Turn in Education group was held. Many of the same people involved in the rally protested at last month’s meeting.

“We pray that you will empower every righteous and patriotic parent,” Holley Terie said during the rally.

Now that school leaders have lifted the mask mandate, they say they are turning their attention to other hot button issues.

“We did not hijack a meeting,” said father Michael Rudnick. “And I would happily do it again so my son won’t have to wear a mask again.”

A handful of speakers did address the issue.

“[It was] incredibly productive in relation to last month. What do you attribute that to? Planning. The order measures we took,” said school board member Everton Blair.

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Police did refuse one man entry into the meeting, saying he caused trouble at the last one. He has been banned from future meetings until sometime next year.