Mask critics at NJ school board meetings make Nazi comparisons
Two separate board of education meetings in Monmouth County this week devolved into distraction as two anti-mask adults refused to wear masks during public comments and compared COVID pandemic protocol to Nazi tactics.
The disruptions came a day after Gov. Phil Murphy announced the statewide school mask mandate would end the first week of March.
A man at the Freehold Township Board of Education meeting, and who refused to wear a mask as the board members eventually filed out of the room, was the same person accused of intentionally coughing on a grocery store worker and saying he had COVID in March 2020.
“These tyrants get you to be their brownshirt,” George Falcone, of Freehold, said to a police officer at the school board meeting.
A “brownshirt” was a member of an early Nazi militia founded by Adolf Hitler in 1921.
Falcone called school officials “criminal child abusers" as the board members silently left while he continued to deliver his comments.
Falcone previously faced criminal charges after he was accused of coughing on a Wegmans worker in Manalapan and claiming he had COVID. He is slated to appear in Monmouth County Superior Court in March on a pending charge of third-degree terroristic threats.
Nazi comparisons in pandemic debates
Comparisons to the Holocaust and Nazi Germany have abounded almost as long as the pandemic — and the comparisons have been used in countless controversies over the years.
The Anti-Defamation League, which advocates against anti-Semitism, generally "condemns the use of Nazi and Holocaust analogies in debates over contemporary issues, including in the context of political protests like the anti-lockdown rallies."
The ADL says such comparisons can be offensive and traumatizing.
After similar comparisons were made elsewhere in the country, the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum said that comparing the Holocaust to "the efforts of our elected officials to attempt to balance our health and economic needs while under threat from a worldwide pandemic cheapens the sacrifice of the millions of Jews murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators."
Marlboro meeting disruptions
Elsewhere in Monmouth County, a school board meeting in Marlboro was stopped at least twice as two angry speakers from outside the district were escorted out by police after refusing to wear masks.
“My name is Rachel Collins and I’m not gonna tell you where I’m from cuz it’s none of your business,” one woman said as she berated the school superintendent for an online exchange she said they recently had.
Collins, a Burlington County resident, according to court records, filed a lawsuit in September against the Chesterfield Board of Education, claiming that her child was being forced to wear a mask against religious beliefs, which was causing “psychological abuse,” fear of school and “night terrors.”
Her lawsuit also names the state Board of Education and state Department of Education Commissioner Angelica Allen-McMillan as co-defendants.
"While I understand that I’m responsible to everybody in this community — this person does not live in our community, this person does not even live in our county. So at the end of the day, she misrepresented herself to me,” Marlboro School Superintendent Eric Hibbs said, before being interrupted by shouted comments from some in attendance.
Jennele Moschella, a Holmdel resident, also spoke during the Marlboro board meeting.
“Are you familiar with the constitution? Cuz if you’re not, maybe you should go read it cuz we got 51 of ‘em,” Moschella said. “51 that we the people have rights to, that you are overlooking.”
After speaking for a full minute, she removed a clear face guard she had been wearing and yelled until she was escorted out.
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