LINCOLN COUNTY, N.C. — A group of people wearing clothing associated with the Proud Boys showed up to Tuesday’s Lincoln County school board meeting, according to Lincolnton police.
An officer stationed at the school board meeting said a small group sat in the back of the meeting and wore clothing that suggested they “may be part of or associated with the Proud Boys group,” Lincolnton police chief Rodney Jordan told Channel 9 in a statement.
Jordan went on to say that there were no issues and the officer did not need to intervene.
Many of the meeting’s attendees had disagreements among themselves regarding their beliefs in support of or against mask mandates, Jordan said.
The Proud Boys, a far-right extremist group, have attended school board meetings across the country in opposition to mask mandates in schools. Recently in North Carolina, Orange County’s school board passed a resolution condemning hate groups on school property after the Proud Boys showed up at a high school football game, according to WTVD.
Whittney Hafele went to the Lincoln County meeting hoping to convince leaders about the importance of children wearing masks. But after she spoke, Hafele said the group of men made sure she heard them.
“I just feel like it was an intimidation tactic that they used for intimidation,” Hafele said. “They thought if they were loud enough and yelled over us enough that they could back us into a corner and make us leave.”
After parents voiced their opinions both for and against mask mandates in the classroom, the school board voted in favor of keeping masks optional.
Dr. Becky Reavis is a psychologist who attended the meeting and said the presence of the Proud Boys won’t keep her and her family from going.
“It’s extremely disappointing,” Reavis said. “They are no more than an intimidation group. And I worry, especially with them coming to a school board meeting.”
(WATCH BELOW: ‘We are scared for our kids’: Masks stay optional in Union County Public Schools)
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