Brainerd, MN parents demand resignations, damages over school mask mandates

Brainerd parents demand resignations, damages over school mask

The district called the legal claims illegitimate.

Audience members listen in on the Brainerd School Board meeting Wednesday,
March 9, 2022.
Theresa Bourke / Brainerd Dispatch

By Theresa Bourke
March 10, 2022 06:00 AM

BRAINERD — Twenty-two Brainerd parents want School Board members to resign
and pay punitive damages related to the district’s face covering mandate
this year.

The district’s legal counsel, however, says there’s no legal basis for the

Brainerd School Board members received “notice of wrongdoing and demand for
redress” documents Wednesday, March 9, signed by 22 district parents.

In short, the parents are demanding board members — along with
Superintendent Laine Larson and Assistant Superintendent Heidi Hahn —
resign by April 1 and each pay every parent complainant $250,000 in damages.

Keith Haskell, who identified himself as an investigator with the National
Action Task Force, passed out the documents to each board member during the
public forum portion of Wednesday’s board meeting. Board member Tom Haglin
was absent, as was Larson, who was attending the Minnesota Association of
School Administrators Conference.

Parent Nick Hillman addressed the board just before Haskell doled out the

“Here we are again, and it’s interesting to me to find out more information
about why you would possibly not listen to the public on the illegal mask
mandate issued on our kids and continued to push through with your own ways
regardless. You are violating parent and child rights,” Hillman said.

Hillman and others have addressed School Board members numerous times since
the beginning of the school year, criticizing the district’s face covering
policy put in place last August


The face covering mandate, which is no longer in effect, required staff,
students and all visitors to district buildings to wear a mask or face
shield while inside the building, with certain exceptions made for athletes
competing in sports and for those with identified medical or behavioral
needs. The board began phasing out masking requirements


in mid-February. Haglin voted against the mandate in August, and it is
unclear if he will receive the same documents as the rest of the board, as
Hahn said there was not a packet left for him after Wednesday’s meeting.

After demanding board member resignations and threatening legal action in
the past, Hillman said Wednesday, “It’s time for all of you to go.”

The packets handed to Hahn and board members included signed statements
from the parents, the top one signed by Hillman himself.

Hillman’s document laid out 13 “statements of fact,” asserting he was
stopped from attending School Board meetings on three occasions in October
and November last year for not wearing a face mask.

“There is no authority delegated by the People of Minnesota in their
Constitution providing for the power to interfere with their unalienable
rights recognized under common law,” the document read. “... There is no
statutory law of Minnesota establishing a general requirement for any one
of the People to wear an unspecified medical device.”

The School Board began live streaming meetings on YouTube during the
COVID-19 pandemic and also offered face coverings in the boardroom for
those who did not have them. Hillman did attend and wear a mask to all
three meetings mentioned in his statement.

The document calls for public resignations in writing no later than 8 a.m.
April 1 and the payment of $250,000 in punitive damages for hindering the
“free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege” secured to the
complainant by the U.S. Constitution. The damages demand amounts to $5.5
million per board member.

The statement, signed on March 6, also calls for a cease and desist with
enforcement of wearing a face mask to gain entry into district buildings.
The last phase of the board’s plan to eliminate the masking requirement
went into effect Feb. 28, with face coverings no longer required in
district buildings.

Haskell told the Dispatch after handing out the documents the claims are
against each individual board member and not the board as whole in an
effort to pierce “the veil of protection that they have through the School
Board’s attorney and legal representation.”

Keith Haskell, an investigator with the National Advisory Task Force, hands out legal documents to Brainerd School Board members during their meeting Monday, March 9, 2022. Screenshot Haskell and Hillman both questioned whether the face covering requirement was an attempt from the district to secure extra COVID-19 relief funding, including the third round of Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds from the American Rescue Plan Act. While Hahn said there are guidelines schools must follow to accept the federal funds, she said there is no truth to the district receiving more funds because of a mask mandate, and much of the funds were tied to the district’s free and reduced lunch population. According to the U.S. Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, the emergency relief funds were issued to schools in the same proportion as each state received funds under Part A of Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. That act is a program established to distribute funding to schools and school districts with a high percentage of students from low-income families. Further claims Julie Becker, another parent with students in the district, told board members during public forum they have failed to uphold the U.S. Constitution, as sworn to in their oaths of office, through mask mandates, COVID-19 tracing and quarantines. Becker presented them with notices of claim signed by three parents. The notices name Larson, Hahn and all board members except for Haglin. The notices assert the parents reserve the right to file a civil action in federal court under the “Common Law for Trespass OR under Title 42 Section 11983, for the deprivation of rights, privileges, and immunities by the Constitutions and Laws.” The notices also assert the parents reserve the right to file criminal complaints for any action found to be non-compliant with U.S. codes relating to conspiracy against rights, deprivation of rights, false statements or entries, obstruction of persons in free exercise of religious belief, fictitious obligations and deprivation of religious beliefs. The claim says board members have 48 hours to either rebut the affidavit of fact presented, or the parents will begin to proceed with administrative, civil and criminal remedies.


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