A judge dropped charges Tuesday against a New York woman who was arrested and detained at a school board meeting last month after she “improperly” wore her mask below her nose.
“Many parents see the bully tactics that sometimes employed by school boards and superintendents who don’t want to hear from parents about their children’s education,” mother and local radio host Shannon Joy told supporters gathered outside the courthouse before the arraignment, according to PJ Media’s Megan Fox.
“As soon as Joy’s hearing began on Tuesday, the prosecutor dropped all charges ‘in the interest of justice,’ noting that the criminal trespass was not serious enough to continue using the state’s resources,” Fox reported.
“I feel good for everyone here,” Joy said following the dismissal. “This was for all of you as much as it was for me.”
“Parents are very concerned about what’s happening in their schools right now for a variety of reasons and they need to be a part of that process,” she said. “For school boards and superintendents to make an example out of me so they can intimidate all of you—for them to be so roundly dismissed and summarily dismissed in such a dramatic way is a victory for the people.”
“There’s a constitutional issue here,” Joy’s attorney Steve Cohen of Hogan Willig told supporters. “She’s a broadcaster. She’s critical of the government. She dares to speak out. We’re here to make sure she continues to do that.”
Joy was charged with criminal trespassing after she and other parents were accused by a board member of “refusing to wear masks.” Video, however, shows Joy did have her mask on, though it was sitting below her nose. The Daily Wire reported at the time:
Video shows that a school board member during the meeting asks for a recess because people are “refusing to wear masks.” Other mothers in the room protest, telling the board member, whom they identified as “Mary,” that they had places to be and wanted to continue the meeting. […]
When the recess is asked for, Joy has her mask on over her mouth and below her nose.
After the motion for a recess was seconded, Joy told the school board, “This is not leadership. You asked us to be respectful of you, and you can’t respect the taxpayers and citizens. This is silly.”
Joy was apparently then asked to leave, due to the mask not covering her nose completely. She then lowered her mask and took to Facebook Live from her phone to notify others about what transpired at the meeting.
Minutes later, three Monroe Country Sheriff’s Deputies entered the room. They took the mother outside, detained and handcuffed her.
Yup. I was handcuffed & detained by Monroe County Sheriff tonight for inappropriately wearing my mask at the Fairport School District board meeting. Full video HERE. https://t.co/kwPNMImgUq pic.twitter.com/dEt7CjOGZ3
— Shannon Joy (@ShannonJoyRadio) August 25, 2021
Following the incident, Joy told The Daily Wire, “It is becoming blatantly apparent that the Fairport School Board, Superintendent Brett Provenzano and outside organization ‘Black In The Burbs’ collaborated to create meeting conditions designed to result in my arrest. I have been an outspoken community organizer with a large media platform and am often critical of the board’s policy & practices regarding masking, coerced vaccination, Critical Race Theory & Comprehensive Sex Education.”
“These individuals are so frightened of transparency and organic, open discourse that they sought to silence, intimidate and publicly humiliate me to serve as a warning to any other parent who dares to speak up,” Joy said. “Instead, they have inadvertently outraged our community even further.”
President of the Fairport Central School District school board Peter Forsgren told The Daily Wire, “The district followed its established policy regarding the public comment period. Ms. Joy was not on the list for public comments.”