A parent who prosecutors say grabbed a masked man’s shirt and phone at a heated Minnesota school board meeting in September has been charged with assault, according to local reports.
Prosecutors alleged that Thomas Wayne Kahlbaugh, 47, was unhappy with Jonas Sjoberg, a parent who spoke in favor of the Eastern Carver County School District’s new mask mandate, according to KARE 11. Witnesses told KARE 11 that Kahlbough took Sjoberg’s phone and dragged him across the room before two other men intervened.
Livestreamed video of the heated September 27 school board meeting showed a man grabbing Sjoberg by the collar and pulling his phone from his hand. While it’s unclear from the video what caused the altercation, KARE 11 reported that prosecutors alleged Sjoberg tried to take a picture of Kalbough with his phone, and had been planning to notify the school board that Kalbough was trying to threaten him.
Sjoberg had told WCCO last month that his daughter goes to a private school, but he went to the meeting to tell the board that he didn’t think a large group of people speaking in opposition to the district’s mask mandate were representative of the community.
Sjoberg also told police that his shirt was ripped and he may have been scratched during the altercation, according to KARE.
The school district said in a September 28 statement that it plans to increase security presence at its board meetings in the future over safety concerns.
“The behavior and conduct on display in our boardroom this week was unacceptable,” the district’s statement read. “It is healthy for us to disagree and to seek out more information. It is not okay, and not acceptable, to resort to violence or accuse decision-makers of being Nazis.”
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