BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. - The Brevard County School Board's first regular meeting following the implementation of a mandatory mask policy on Aug. 30 attracted far fewer speakers than previous meetings, but people on both sides of the issue were still present and steadfast in their views.
Outside the meeting at the Brevard County Public School headquarters in Viera, Florida, one group of protesters gathered to burn masks, while another group of anti-mask mandate activists held a separate prayer vigil.
Just over 20 people signed up to speak at Thursday's meeting, far fewer than the 140 who spoke at the Aug. 30 emergency meeting. A few people thanked the three board members who voted in favor of a mask policy, while others continued to argue against mask mandates.
One woman speaking against mask mandates at the meeting was led out the building by Brevard County Sheriff's Office deputies after she attempted to continue talking after her allotted three minutes was over.
But during this board meeting, unlike previous meetings, most of the action took place outside of the meeting room.
A crowd of over 20 people gathered to burn masks. A counter protestor with a megaphone, a Firehouse Subs helmet and a fire extinguisher lectured them about fire safety and threatened to put out any fire they lit.
Janice Crisp, a former Palm Bay City Council candidate who organized the event, said she did not obtain a fire permit but checked and complied with local regulations. The masks were burned on the sidewalk outside the school board in miniature firepits while she watched with a fire extinguisher of her own.
Brevard County Sheriff's Office officials watched the event, but did not intervene.
Nearby, gathered around a tree in the parking lot, Moms for Liberty members held a prayer circle. They did not join with the mask burners.
The main issue on the agenda Thursday was the school's 2021-2022 school year budget.
The budget comes with a decreased millage rate - the amount property owners will pay to the district per $1,000 worth of property they own -- to reflect rising property values. Because houses in the Space Coast are worth more than they were a year ago, the district doesn't need to collect as much compared to how much local homes are worth.
The board passed the budget with no discussion. Only one person spoke during the public comments section for the new budget, and he asked where to get more information.
Follow Bailey Gallion on Twitter: @baileygallion.
This article originally appeared on Florida Today: COVID masks burnt in protest outside Florida board meeting