Minden school board member loses position over mask refusal

Local4 News at 10
Published: Apr. 26, 2021 at 3:33 PM CDT
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MINDEN, Neb. (KSNB) - A Minden woman was relieved of her school board duties over her refusal to wear a mask during recent board meetings.

The Minden school board voted unanimously to remove Katie Sinsel at a special meeting Monday at 7 p.m.

The Minden Courier newspaper reported last week that Sinsel was removed from an April 12 meeting because she refused to wear a mask as a COVID precaution. The Courier reported that the board in March had approved a policy requiring board members and the public to wear masks during school board meetings.

The paper reported that Sinsel refused a direct request from school superintendent Jim Widdiefield to wear a mask. According to the report Minden police chief Brad Butler then told Sinsel to wear a mask, leave the school building or be arrested for trespassing. Sinsel continued to protest and was eventually removed from the building in handcuffs.

A few people spoke during the public comment section of Monday night’s special meeting. Some chose to defend Sinsil. Others said as a public figure she should follow the rules. One person even accused the board of overturning their vote from November to elect her to the board.

Board President Rusty Rhynalds said that is not the case, but instead it was about her not following directions.

“I spoke with Katie multiple times at meetings and as the resolution said one other time,” Rhynalds said. “I all but begged her to serve the district, wear a mask and come to these meetings.”

The position will be offered to the person who got the second most votes during the election. If they are no longer interested, the board will find a replacement.

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