Protestors challenge Washougal School Board; hold rally at admin building

About 300 protesters gathered outside the Washougal School District Administration Office Tuesday night to support two parents who were cited for trespassing two weeks ago at the last School Board meeting

This story was first published by Lacamas Magazine and it is shared here with full attribution to Lacamas Magazine and Editor Ernie Geigenmiller (Lacamas Magazine).

WASHOUGAL — About 300 protestors gathered outside the Washougal School District (WSD) Administration Office Tuesday night to support two parents — Patricia Bellamy and Melissa Mcilwain — who were cited for trespassing two weeks ago at the last WSD School Board meeting.

Washougal moms Patricia Bellamy and Melissa Mcilwain are at the center of a controversy stemming from a Washougal School Board meeting two weeks ago. Photo courtesy of Lacamas Magazine
Washougal moms Patricia Bellamy and Melissa Mcilwain are at the center of a controversy stemming from a Washougal School Board meeting two weeks ago. Photo courtesy of Lacamas Magazine

Bellamy and Mcilwain attended the meeting to speak out against mask wearing and curriculum issues, and supported a third attendee who wasn’t wearing a mask.

“We supported her right to not wear a mask,” said Bellamy. “And, for that they adjourned the meeting.”

Bellamy said when the meeting re-started they wanted in, and their friend chalked cars and building walls to express her frustration. Police were called to the scene and all three were cited for trespassing and disorderly conduct, and told they could not enter any Washougal school property for a year. Bellamy said that order was reduced to the WSD Administration building now.

“Mel and I didn’t do anything wrong, and we feel they just wanted us to leave because of our support of our friend not wearing a mask,” said Bellamy.

The protestors brought in a fire truck onto the building parking lot and hoisted a flag atop the vehicle’s ladder, and occupied the front part of property. They sang songs, held flags and held signs, and ate barbecue hamburgers and hot dogs. Several lined the street both sides protesting masks in schools, equity programs and Critical Race Theory. Several addressed the audience.


Washougal School Board statement

The Washougal School Board of Directors welcomes public comment at school board meetings, and values the input from community members.  The board likes to hear from and listen to our community.  The board appreciates those who come forward to share feedback, and recognizes that there are many perspectives that can help inform our civic process.

About 300 protesters gathered outside the Washougal School District Administration Office Tuesday night to support two parents who were cited for trespassing two weeks ago at the last School Board meeting. Photo courtesy of Lacamas Magazine
About 300 protesters gathered outside the Washougal School District Administration Office Tuesday night to support two parents who were cited for trespassing two weeks ago at the last School Board meeting. Photo courtesy of Lacamas Magazine

However, members of the public who come to board meetings must adhere to safety protocols that are in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Those who refuse to comply with safety rules will be asked to leave. When community members refuse lawful requests to vacate the board room and district property, and seek to disrupt the orderly business of the board, the board will seek support from local law enforcement, who will force non-compliant community members to leave.

The board will not tolerate the acts of vandalism, disorderly conduct, or intimidation that took place at last night’s meeting, including vandalism of the personal vehicles of board members and district staff, and the district office itself. These are not an effective means of informing our civic process.  The board will continue to seek support from local law enforcement in fully prosecuting any acts of vandalism or disorderly conduct related to official board business.  Community members engaging in these acts undermine the ability of the board to do the work of the public, and endanger themselves and others.  This activity also impedes other community members from safely participating in the board’s meeting.

As part of Governor Inslee’s Proclamation 20-28.14, which amended Proclamations 20-05 and 20-28, the school board was allowed to begin in-person meetings, provided that the hosting  complied with the Miscellaneous Venues guidance, which requires that the hosting venue require masking and social distancing for all attendees.  The board has been meeting in-person since March 9, 2021. Members of the public who do not wish to participate in-person, which requires wearing a mask, are able to participate via Zoom.

At the May 11, 2021 meeting, the board responded to an interruption in the meeting by voting to recess again, and ordered the meeting room to be cleared, per RCW 42.30.050.  Later in the evening, the board adjourned the meeting in response to a continued interruption that had escalated to vandalism of the District Office building and the personal vehicles of board members and school district staff, also per RCW 42.30.050.  The board will move any pending agenda items to a future meeting.

Over the past several years, the board has worked to increase opportunities for public input during board meetings.  The board has communicated the ways the public can provide input, established parameters to allow more voices to be heard, and added an additional public comment period to the agenda. They have also worked with district staff to provide opportunities for patrons to observe the board meeting via Zoom, increasing transparency. The regular school board business meeting format does not include the board responding to public testimony, but when appropriate, the board directs the superintendent to respond on behalf of the board.  In order to ensure smooth functioning of our schools, the board strongly encourages patrons who wish to share feedback or engage in dialog about proposed changes to meet with school and district staff, who are most prepared to listen and provide additional information about changes that may come before the board.

Community members who wish to participate in board meetings are encouraged to participate via Zoom. Please refer to the board section of the Washougal School District website for protocols and the process to sign up for public comments.

This story is published with full attribution to Lacamas Magazine and Editor Ernie Geigenmiller (https://lacamasmagazine.com/2021/05/protesters-challenge-washougal-school-district-hold-rally-at-admin-building.html).

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Angela
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Angela
4 months ago

So was the fire truck a public funded fire truck or a private one

Clay
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Clay
4 months ago
Reply to  Angela

Yeah! We shouldn’t be paying firefighters to support any protests of anything! This is not an appropriate use of public services!

David Knight
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David Knight
4 months ago
Reply to  Clay

I would be very surprised if anybody used any publicly owned resources or were actually ON THE JOB while at this protest.

That would not be a logical assumption. Fire trucks don’t really have a high aftermarket price. Very few people want to own a used one, but they make a great portable flagpole eh?

Laurie
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Laurie
4 months ago
Reply to  Angela

Neither Washougal or Camas has a ladder truck as shown. This was brought in to look like our local fire department supports this nonsense.

David Knight
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David Knight
4 months ago
Reply to  Laurie

That is not logical either Laurie. It is not a positive thing that ANY government employees would be wagging the dog for the public. Abuse of government power is the issue here.

Someone got a great deal on a used firetruck. Repainting it would cost more than the truck did.
Regardless they found a useful purpose here. NOBODY at that rally would be cheering government to tell us what to do. The abuse of that is front and center now.

Lynnial Trusty
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Lynnial Trusty
4 months ago

Why don’t we as Washougal citizens just vote in a new School board that will manage and operate in a manner us parents approve of?

Ed Flabeets
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Ed Flabeets
4 months ago
Reply to  Lynnial Trusty

You already have. The protesters/vandals/lunatics don’t speak for the vast majority of the community.

Chris Cyborg
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Chris Cyborg
4 months ago

This is great news….support American values not socialist ideologies and indoctrinations. Kick this school board to the curb….get woke go broke!

Leslie Jean Chasse
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Leslie Jean Chasse
4 months ago
Reply to  Chris Cyborg

That same process you’d like to kick them to the curb, legally and rightfully put them there. The fact that you don’t agree with those elected by a majority should be a clear message, right?

Don
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Don
4 months ago

People need to fight this BS. There is no proof that masks offer any protection from covid. https://thecovidblog.com/covidlegalusa-com/

TITLE 18, U.S.C., SECTION 242

Whoever, under color of any law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom, willfully subjects any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States, … shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both; and if bodily injury results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include the use, attempted use, or threatened use of a dangerous weapon, explosives, or fire, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and if death results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, shall be fined under this title, or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death.

Wendi Smith
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Wendi Smith
4 months ago

im so proud of our Board for not capitulating you bullies! Anti-maskers and racists will not win the day!

Last edited 4 months ago by Wendi Smith
David Knight
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David Knight
4 months ago
Reply to  Wendi Smith

Just as propaganda is an overwhelming message coupled with censorship of alternative facts that do not support that narrative…
bullies are the powerful people who force their will on those who do NOT have the power to oppose them. The board forced compliance with questionable and constantly changing “science” to attend a meeting that was legally public. (with all the rules that apply thereto)

These two women complied with that questionable rule – but were kicked out of the meeting ANYWAY because they expressed support for the woman who did NOT comply. This was done by SECRETLY RECONVENING a PUBLIC meeting. These two COMPLYING parents were then locked out of a public meeting when they learned of the deceit. Law enforcement was improperly utilized and the school board further ostracized the complying parents by trespassing them from their school property for a year.

Allowing public funds to support monopoly education. What could go wrong?

Anti-masker: People that will remove YOUR mask if they catch you wearing one.
Mask wary: People that will discriminate against those who are (hiding their identity?)
Mask tolerant: People who pretend they don’t notice you are wearing a mask.
Mask bigot: People who shun those who do not wear masks.
Mask Fascist: People who use power to legally discriminate against those without masks. This must include those who are forced to do this or be punished by the state. An essential element of fascism.
Mask Tyrant: People who have organized the power of the state to use a tool to force compliance. An example would be a sheep herding dog analogy to the constantly changing “facts” about the pandemic – keeping the people guessing and unsure of what they understand about our natural response to disease. Then the livestock chute (vaccine) opens up, allowing us an escape from the dog (scary confusion)

Of course this is just an analogy. I would NEVER think people as sheep. That would be almost as racist as CRT.

John K
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John K
4 months ago

Lock them up!

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