The wife of a ‘powerful’ sewage technician who was wrestled out of a South Dakota school board meeting for refusing to wear a mask is speaking out in his defense.
On Monday night a man identified by police as Reed Bender refused to wear a mask at a Mitchell School Board meeting in defiance of a school district mask mandate enacted in July.
Authorities were called to remove the man but he refused to budge saying ‘you’re going to have to drag me out’ and officers had to threaten him with a stun gun and forcibly carry him out.
Bender’s wife Teri Bender shared on Facebook that she stands by her husband and supports ‘maskers and non-maskers’.
‘This man has saved me in so many ways and has stood by me through things most people can’t make it through…we got this,’ she said Wednesday sharing a photo of them together on Facebook.
South Dakota man Reed Bender was dragged out of a school board meeting in Mitchell on Monday night after he refused to put on a mask or leave the building in defiance of a school district mask mandate
Bender’s wife Teri Jayne Bender is speaking out in his defense. On Wednesday she shared this photo with him on Facebook saying ‘we got this’
On Wednesday Teri wrote ‘we got this’ sharing a photo with her husband showing she stands besides him despite his refusal to wear a mask in complaince with a mandate
Teri shared this post on Facebook saying ‘I feel for my “masker and non-masker” friends and family’, adding she doesn’t judge people on their choices. Medical experts say the mask is effective in preventing the spread of COVID-19
‘I feel for my “masker and non-masker” friends and family. I do want to point out that not all Democrats are “maskers” there are some that are “non-maskers” I also want to point out that not all Republicans are “non-maskers” there are some that are “maskers,”‘ she said.
‘People’s beliefs of what’s right and what’s wrong are viewed differently. And that’s ok. I love YOU for who YOU are and I’m not going to ever judge you on what you believe in,’ she added.
Reed Bender is a father-of-two and a service technician at his father’s company Bender Sewage and Drain in Mitchell.
Bender’s refusal to wear a mask and scuffle with officers who had to escort him out was caught on video and has gone viral on Facebook.
At the school board meeting about 20 people were in attendance and masks were available for those who didn’t have them.
In the video two police officers from Mitchell Police Division are seen entering the room, where they ask Bender – who is sitting at the front of the meeting by himself – to stand up and leave the meeting.
In the video of the Monday incident two police officers from Mitchell Police Division are seen entering the room, where they ask Bender – who is sitting at the front of the meeting by himself – to stand up and leave the meeting
The man refuses, so they move to lift him out of the chair at the front of the room and begin to drag him away from the meeting down the isle between the chairs
He is seen struggling against the two smaller police officers, who try to forcibly remove him from the building as the other meeting attendees watch on
‘I know you don’t want to do it, but unfortunately, you have to follow these fool’s rules, right?’ Bender says, still refusing to leave. ‘Force me out. You’re going to have to drag me out.’
The police officer replies, saying ‘If it’s part of their policy that you have to wear a mask while you are here, then you’ve got to wear a mask.’
‘You are sowing discord in our communities at every level. It’s disgusting,’ Bender says to the board members, who are sitting out of shot of the camera.
He repeats that he will not leave willingly, and that the police officers will have to drag him out of the meeting room.
The officers move to lift him out of his seat, but Bender struggles back as he is being taken down the isle between the chairs in the room.
One of the officers pulls out a stun gun and threatens to use it on him if he does not comply, and after another small struggle, he appears to accept his fate and walks with them more cooperatively.
Some of the other attendees at the meeting appeared displeased with the school board’s decision to call the police and to remove Bender from the meeting.
After being threatened with a stun gun, the man is more compliant, and walks out of the meeting with the two cops
The end of the video shows a woman, pictured standing up, arguing with the members of the board pictures to the left out of shot over the consistency of the mask policy
One woman, who can be heard protesting throughout, is shown in the video standing up with a mask hanging under her chin.
‘He just wants to have a say in what’s going on. We pay school taxes,’ she says, calling out contradictions in the state’s enforcement of wearing face masks. ‘This is an embarrassment and we all should be embarrassed.
The Mitchell School District issued a mandate in July stating that anyone entering the school must wear a mask, according to Newsweek.
Wearing masks is a serious issue at the school district which has seen four students test positive for COVID-19 since the school year began and one administrator test positive. One teacher also tested positive for the virus before the school year began.
Reed Bender is a father-of-two and a service technician at his father’s company Bender Sewage and Drain in Mitchell
The school district requires a mask mandate for all students and about five students are exempt due to medical conditions and alternatively wera a face shield.
‘Never in my entire career as a superintendent have I had that happen before,’ Mitchell School District Superintendent Joe Graves told the Mitchell Republic after the meeting.
‘The board said there is a masking mandate and everyone in the school building must wear a mask.
‘We gave the gentleman fair warning of that and offered him a mask. He refused, so the board had to enforce the mandate.’
Bender was not arrested despite resisting police.