Parents walk through doors at North Suburb School Board meeting, chaos in Illinois districts after deciding to stop mask mandate

NILES, Ill. (CBS) – Mass masked chaos – we saw the scenes unfold across the state, as school districts scrambled to figure out how to handle the situation after a judge issued an order ending the school mask mandate of the Governor JB Pritzker.

It has been a free game, with each school district coming up with their own answers. At a Park Ridge-Niles School District 64 school board meeting on Monday night, it was a wild scene as parents burst through doors from an overflow area.

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Some chanted and applauded, “unmask our children”. Others complained that people were making a maskless ‘scene’ on themselves.

Late Monday night, the school board vote ended in a tie, meaning masks are still needed for now.

The vote was far from imminent at 10 p.m. – given that the meeting had already lasted for three hours while the parents were still addressing the council.

“It’s hard on the students – the changes, back and forth, back and forth,” a parent told the board.

As CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar reported, some parents Monday night were pressuring Park Ridge-Niles School District 64 leaders to unmask their children after Sangamon County Judge Raylene Grischow imposed a temporary restraining order on the governor’s mask mandate late last week.

Over the Fox River, the heavyweight of the mask debate unfolded in Geneva’s Community Unit School District 304 – where parents protested for masks to come off their children. Late Monday night, the district said masking was now optional.

In Barrington School District 220, Monika Casey’s daughter, Alyssa, entered class at Barrington High School on Monday without a mask. Masking is now mandatory in this neighborhood, but not recommended.

“Today is truly an emotional day for us,” Casey said.

Barrington was included in the lawsuit that led to Judge Grischow’s order.

“It definitely had an impact on our kids,” Casey said.

Judy Benson lives in Deerfield and her children attend school in Deerfield Public Schools District 109 and Township High Schools District 113.

“Basically, we’re just looking for choice,” she said.

Her children’s districts were not part of the lawsuit, but she believes mask mandates have no place in the classroom.

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“I was hoping that school districts that aren’t named would still do the right thing and provide parents with a choice,” Benson said.

But Holly Erdman’s son, Riley, is immunocompromised — and he’s dependent on classmates and teachers to wear a mask.

“If we had a typical family without an immunocompromised child, things might be different,” Erdman said.

While Kaneland Community School District 302 in Kane County still needs masks, Erdman fears the policy won’t be enforced, leaving him with some tough choices.

From March: “What does tomorrow look like to you?”

Erdman: “I have no idea what to do.”

On Friday, Sangamon County Judge Raylene Grischow issued a temporary restraining order that ended the mask mandate, following the lawsuit filed by parents in districts across the state.

Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul’s office has already appealed the temporary restraining order issued by Judge Grischow and filed for an emergency stay of the judge’s ruling – meaning that the decision is in limbo.

Governor JB Pritzker on Monday called the judge’s decision blocking enforcement of the state’s school mask mandate in dozens of districts “out of step with the vast majority of legal analysis in Illinois and across the country.”

The following list reflects school policies in the Chicago area as of Monday evening:


  • Chicago Public Schools
  • Naperville Community School District 203
  • Aurora District East 131
  • Elgin Area School District U46
  • Indian Prairie School District 204
  • Community Secondary School District 128
  • Township 113 Secondary School District
  • Lansing District 158
  • Palatine Quarter 15


  • Plainfield School District 202
  • Lake Forest Districts 67 and 115
  • Barrington District 220
  • Hillsboro School District 3
  • Huntley District 158
  • Lombard Elementary District 44
  • Arlington Heights District 25
  • Schools in the Diocese of Joliet


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