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A group of anti-mask mandate parents are walking the hallways of Burlington High School, hunting for the school board that had just abruptly adjourned a meeting, when the crowd is stopped by police.

Two hours prior, Burlington citizens and parents filled the school’s auditorium for a school board meeting Monday night to speak out about what they believe the district’s mask policy should be for the upcoming school year amid a surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

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After initially vowing to cooperate on implementing anti-racism reforms, Burlington school officials are now having second thoughts. They are considering challenging the state's authority to order them to include one of the district's leading critics in the process and also questioning whether they will actually follow the state order to hire a director of student equity.

"This is a time for us as a board to take a stand and say no to DPI," Burlington School Board Member Taylor Wishau said during a meeting Monday. "They're not the authority for us down here." But School Board President Peter Turke quickly corrected Wishau, saying: "I'm pretty confident that DPI does have authority to govern school districts."

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