All Posts by Empower Wisconsin

Tool of the Week: Cumberland’s Mask Stasi

MADISON — Even as COVID-19 numbers plummet, the mask Stasi are turning the screws on those who fail to wear a face covering.

As Empower Wisconsin first reported last week, police officers dragged out a man who refused to wear a mask at a Cumberland School Board meeting. Tim Guthrie, a resident of the small northwest Wisconsin community, appeared at the meeting to express his objections to heavy-handed enforcement of the school system’s mask mandate. Several other parents showed up to do the same.

It’s not simply that two officers surrounded Guthrie and forcibly removed him from his social distanced seat (a video shows one officer actually carries Guthrie out). It’s that eight law enforcement agents — including six Barron County Sheriff’s deputies — were deployed to the school as a show of force. For what? Community residents speaking out against their children being forced to wear a mask for seven hours a day?

Interestingly, Cumberland Police Chief Rick Rieper is a member of the iron-fisted school board.

Curiously, the strong police presence followed an email from Cumberland Superintendent Barry Rose to teachers and staff assuring that he “will take care of the unfortunate, frivolous accusations that have surfaced recently so that each of you can continue to do your job and provide the educational services and support services that our students so desperately need.”

It would appear Mr. Rose took care of it.

It’s just how he, the school board and law enforcement conducted themselves that makes them clear winners of Empower Wisconsin’s Tool of the Week award.

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