EDUCATION + SCHOOLS

Two parents will pay fine for disrupting 2021 Granite School District meeting with mask protest

Mar 14, 2023, 8:55 AM | Updated: 12:35 pm

A Granit School District meet on May 4, 2021 ended due to disruptions over a mask mandate. (Screen ...

A Granit School District meet on May 4, 2021 ended due to disruptions over a mask mandate. (Screen shot)

(Screen shot)

SOUTH SALT LAKE — Two parents of students in the Granite School District pleaded no contest on Monday to disrupting a school district meeting, while charges against two other parents were dismissed.

The man and three women were scheduled to go on trial on Thursday and Friday for class B misdemeanor charges, but under a plea deal the two who pleaded guilty — Ted Michael Tyler, of Taylorsville, and Sophia Anderson, of Salt Lake City — pleaded no contest to infractions.

On May 4, 2021, a Granite School District meeting came to an abrupt end after a woman was not allowed to speak, according to the school district, and people began chanting “no more masks,” contesting a requirement for students to wear masks in schools during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kristine Maxwell, attorney for all four parents who were charged, said there was evidence Tyler and Anderson spoke at the school board meeting with an intent to disrupt it.

South Salt Lake Justice Court Judge Ryan Richards clarified that by pleading no contest, they were accepting responsibility for the charges and admitting a belief that prosecutors have substantial evidence for the charges.

When the judge asked if she had any comments before being sentenced, Anderson said, “I just pray that parents’ rights can be honored going forward.”

Richards sentenced Tyler and Anderson to pay a $340 fine each, and as part of the plea ordered that a gag order and trespassing orders that were issued against the parents are now expired. Tyler said addressing the no-trespassing requirement was important because as parents they need to be able to go onto school district property to pick up and drop off their children.

Charges against Bernadette Ethel Brockman, of Taylorsville, and Sara Lea McArthur, of American Fork, were dismissed by the prosecutors, but no reason was given.

Initially, 11 parents were charged, but the seven other cases were previously dismissed.

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Two parents will pay fine for disrupting 2021 Granite School District meeting with mask protest