On Thursday, Dallas school district police forced a woman to leave a school board meeting because she was unmasked. In the meeting, a mother rebuked trustees for “segregating” unmasked children from masked ones and told them of death threats her child had received at school.

Both women agree that Dallas Independent School District has become a hostile learning environment.

“It’s Either That, or I Place You Under Arrest”

Tami Brown Rodriguez said she was masked when she tried to enter the board meeting that evening, but she was told the meeting was full. When Rodriguez said she would stand, she was told the district was practicing “social distancing.”

Rodriguez said because of her asthma, it was difficult to speak and breathe while wearing a mask, so she removed it. “At that point, I was told I was a ‘threat’ and I had to go to the overflow room,” she said. “[At] last month’s meeting, we were NOT required to wear masks.”

In the board meeting, a citizen snapped a photo of Dallas ISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa unmasked. Later, he had a mask on.

Hinojosa was also seen unmasked in the Texas Legislature in August.

When Rodriguez brought up Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order banning mask mandates, the Dallas ISD police got involved.

After checking with another officer, Officer Remediz (Badge No. 147) asked her to leave and said if she didn’t, she would be charged with criminal trespass—a Class B misdemeanor. A conviction would result in up to 180 days in county jail and a maximum fine of $2,000.

Repeating Abbott’s executive orders, Rodriguez asked under what “ordinance” she had to leave. Remediz said the ordinance was criminal trespassing and threatened her with arrest if she did not leave.

Rodriguez began to leave the building, escorted by four Dallas ISD police officers.

After exiting, she tried to give a statement to Texas Scorecard, but Officer Remediz again told her to leave. “It’s either that, I or I place you under arrest, and I don’t want to do that,” he said. Rodriguez left.

When asked which district official gave the order for her to be arrested, Remediz replied: “Sir, you need to go talk to them about that. I have no comment to you.”

Texas Scorecard sent inquiries to every Dallas ISD board trustee. Only Trustee Edwin Flores reached out before publication to set up a time to talk this afternoon. Should he provide responses to our questions, we will publish them.

“How dare they remove me,” Rodriguez said, adding that she and her husband pay property taxes.

When asked if she felt Dallas ISD was a hostile learning environment, she replied, “Absolutely. … Allow the parent to make medical choices for their children.”

Moms vs. School Trustees

Earlier on Thursday, Lauren Davis, a Dallas ISD mother, alleged her child had received a death threat from another student. Davis’ child claims this student repeatedly told her “put on a mask” and “you deserve to die.”

Davis said a report had been filed with the Dallas ISD police. Out of concern for her children, she and her spouse pulled them out of Dallas ISD this week.

At Thursday’s trustee meeting, Davis unleashed on the board. She quoted to them words that were allegedly said to her child: “You deserve to die.”

“How does that feel?” she asked. “That’s what my 11-year-old daughter … heard yesterday as she ate alone in the cafeteria, and again at the playground.” She then read the full statement.

Enraged with what her daughter experienced, Davis again reprimanded at trustees. “Your lawless behavior [and] segregation practices are turning unmasked kids into the virus,” she said. “They are humans!”

Davis attacked trustees for segregating unmasked kids from masked. “You have coned off my child in P.E. like an animal.” She further alleged they had “segregated” unmasked kids into into a “plexiglass box to the point that they can’t breathe” in the library.

“You built this cage in the most public place … to ensure the unmasked kids felt shame and to instill fear in others,” she said. “You’re all monsters!”

In our inquiries to trustees, we asked for a response to Davis’ allegations of threats against her daughter, what the district policy is on bullying and death threats, and if they asked Hinojosa to investigate the matter.

Only Trustee Flores reached out before publication to set up a time to speak with Texas Scorecard this afternoon. Should he provide responses to our questions, we will publish them.

When asked if she felt Dallas ISD is a hostile learning environment, Davis replied, “It is, completely.”

Lisa Reed, also a mom, and Mike Hook, also challenged the trustees’ mask mandate.

Record of Local Tyranny

Last month, Dallas ISD trustees hid from citizens and segregated the unmasked from the masked.

Local control” is a term used by local officials mandating masks on citizens and students. To date, the Texas Legislature has yet to pass legislation banning such actions. The third special session ends in late October.

This article has been edited since publication. 

Robert Montoya

Born in Houston, Robert Montoya is an investigative reporter for Texas Scorecard. He believes transparency is the obligation of government.