Fargo Board of Education censures member who hasn’t worn a mask at meetings

Jennifer Benson

FARGO, N.D. (KVRR) – The Fargo Board of Education votes 6-2 to censure Member Jennifer Benson for refusing to wear a mask during meetings.

She claims the mask policy is illegal. Benson argues she isn’t an employee of the district and the board cannot ask her about her medical history to provide an exemption to the rule.

“You have said you’re not afraid. This isn’t about whether or not you think you’re going to get Covid or give it to me. So then why? Is it really just about power? Control? I mean, when does it end?” Benson asked.

Many people attending the meeting applauded after Benson’s comments.

Board President Rebecca Knutson says the board had the authority to require masks in school buildings based on the extreme health concerns brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Knutson asked Benson in April to wear a mask at meetings or ask the HR department for a mask exemption or take part in the meetings by phone.

Benson replied not being in person wouldn’t allow her to participate in executive sessions.

Benson and Board Member David Paulson voted against the censure motion.

Last year Benson was censured for allegedly making false accusations against Superintendent Dr. Rupak Gandhi and a top assistant. She claimed they intentionally withheld information about declining enrollment numbers.

Click here for Knutson’s memo on her correspondence with Benson on the mask policy. You can watch the full Board of Education meeting below.

Categories: Coronavirus, Coronavirus-ND, Local News, North Dakota News