Covid torches & pitchforks’ group greets school board

There was a contingent of virtual “torches and pitchforks” in the parking lot outside the Wayland High School Fine Arts Center before the school board meeting Monday night.

A group of between two and three dozen school district parents marched inside the facility together not wearing masks, even though the official notice of the meeting asked those attending to do so. It didn’t take long to understand why.

Led by Brett Butler, who has taken the school board to task in meetings earlier this year, they spoke in agreement that rules for wearing masks in school should be abandoned and getting Covid-19 vaccines should be optional. Many threatened to pull their children out of Wayland classrooms if current Covid restrictions are continued when the academic year 2021-22 begins.

Supt. Dr. Christina Hinds said the school district is planning to start the next school year without masks and five days a week in the classroom, unless otherwise directed.

Butler, who was not the first to speak, told the board, “For a long time, we’ve been talking about the science, but it is apparent no one is following the science.”

He said fewer than 200 school-aged children nationwide have died of the Coronavirus, “yet there were draconian measures taken. Adding that the only result was a negative learning environment, he asked, “What are we trying to protect?”

Stephanie Tromp demanded all mask regulations be rescinded and asked, “If masks work, why have a quarantine?”

She said the Covid regulations imposed by Wayland schools during the 2020-21 academic year created a poor social and educational environment for the students.

One woman said her son has ADHD and is being passed on to sixth grade. “He’s going to fail if we don’t get back to normal. We need to unmask our children and make vaccinations a choice… I can tell you we will not be getting vaccinated… You need to break your chains (from health dept, recommendations) and he the voice they needs to hear.”

She promised she’d pull her children from Wayland schools if they continue to insist on masking up, hybrid learning and other restrictions.

Holly Reurink said, “The hybrid was a disaster for my middle student,” who had no motivation to do his work and had trouble focusing and completing assignments.

“My children had a bare minimum of an education,” she asserted.

John Richardson expressed his “disgust with how last year has been handled, without the benefits of social interaction. We need science to justify this. What (good) is showing the dangers of going to school without a mask. Why haven’t parents been given scientific proof?”

Tamara Richardson insisted, “Children rarely get Covid and we have no proof these masks work. Many of the kids don’t wear them because they can’t breathe… My daughter comes home every day with a dirty, filthy mask.”

Another said, “I have trusted blindly the schools, but they have allowed the MDHHS (Michigan Dept. of Health and Human Services) and ACHD (Allegan County Health Department) to decide. They didn’t elect the board members.

“You have allowed the students to sit home three days a week. You have failed to stand up for us.”

Adam Boyd said, “Children account for very low incidences of deaths.” He said U.S. Sen. Rand Paul exposed Dr. Anthony Fauci for having connections to the Wuhan lab believed to be the source of the Coronavirus.

Teacher Sarah Rollandini said, “We learned the virus was less dangerous to children, but we were frightening them into believing an invisible virus was infecting them.

“How are they going to develop social skills when they can’t even see each other (with masks)?

She said children who studied remotely were making little or no progress and insisted, “This Covid craiziness has got to stop.”

Dr. Angela Sanders, an optical technician from North Muskegon, said she was asked to speak about the increasing cases of eye problems associated with wearing masks.

She told the group of maskless citizens, “Don’t give up, parents. We’ve got to continue the fight.”

Another mother insisted her child has been told about dental problems caused by too much mask wearing.


  • First off I want to say I was respectful and wore a mask to the meeting because we were asked to, so don’t just assume we were all there to make trouble.

    I was the parent that was told my child’s adult teeth aren’t growing proper roots from the orthodontist, so we pushed his appointment back 6 months. The orthodontist is hoping now that he won’t be masked all day that his body will go back to normal. We have never had dental issues before, so I was very surprised by her comment.

    My family doesn’t eat unhealthy at all, no junk food ever. So this isn’t a junk food/not brushing properly issue. We eat clean whole foods, exercise and care about our health deeply long before Covid was even an issue.

    I do believe mask wearing and vaccines should be a choice. I keep hearing that parents are concerned about their childrens health, yet the lines around the fast food places and their carts in the grocery store tell a different story. These school lunches are far from healthy. We have been told over and over what puts us in the higher risk category. Obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, the list goes on and on, and it seems the only thing that is changing is our children being kept from what they love. If people don’t care about their own health and continue to eat junk food, drink more and not exercise, my kids not attending school isn’t going to fix their health problems. You can’t expect others to care about your health when you clearly don’t care.

    We are ready to go back 5 days full time, no mask/shot. Enough is enough. If you’re worried, eat clean, boost that immune system and start taking your health seriously.

    • Pam
      I hope your dentist mentioned that drinking more water to prevent dehyradation, breathing through the nose not mouth, additional brushing, will help control ” mask mouth.”
      Yes, “mask mouth” is real, but it is controllable. The “science” is there. So far there is no “science” proving not wearing a mask is better than wearing one, it’s just opinion.
      I applaud your efforts to healthy eating. I also agree you have a choice.
      If by chance the schools are mandated to require a Covid injection as they have for other diseases, please realize it was your choice that may prevent your child from attending some schools.
      Freedom of choice is a wonderful thing. The “common good” of the populous is also a freedom that should be adhered to.

  • Mr. Young
    The next time the “Circus of Ignorance ” is going to make an appearance, please let us know in advance.
    It will be a great opportunity to sell concessions ( popcorn, elephant ears, shirts,etc)

    • It will be great to sit around and have some popcorn, while you’re getting your booster shots for the next 10 years. Ignorance is great, but having a choice is priceless.

  • Mr young
    Thank you for reporting on the school board meetings. Will you also report on upcoming county commission meetings?

  • You know, David Young..your journalism is sketchy at best. I can handle the misspells, grammatical errors, getting names wrong and misspelled..that’s all human error..we all do it. However, is it unfair to hold a journalist/reporter to a higher standard when it comes to reporting what actually happened and was said at this meeting. Your title alone was a rabble rouser.
    Add a dash of integrity to your report, then I can decide if pitchforks and torches really ‘attended’ the meeting

    What is the goal of your story?

      • What is it you’re standing by? What concept is it? It’s inflammatory and biased.
        As someone who didnt know anything about the meeting, it ( your title) told me which side of the issue you supported, before I read it. If that’s what you meant by standing by your reporting, then, well done.

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