Anti-mask rant at Edinburg school board meeting ends in arrest

Miguel Escobar speaking against mask use at a September 13 McAllen ISD board meeting. (Monitor Photo)

Police in Edinburg cited a man last month after cursing loudly at the end of a public comment diatribe against mask wearing at an Edinburg school board meeting.

District police records show Miguel Escobar was arrested and cited for disorderly conduct on Aug. 24.

Often heated public comments for and against mask wearing have been hallmarks of school board meetings in Hidalgo County of late, especially last month when most districts instituted mask mandates in defiance to Gov. Greg Abbott’s order preventing those mandates from May.

Escobar has been a frequent commenter at local meetings.

“How on earth do you not see that you are creating a prison? When the police officers that should be worried about crimes are more worried about this useless thing that you put on your face,” Escobar said at the Aug. 24 meeting in Edinburg, holding up a blue surgical mask.

Claiming masks and hand washing aren’t effective, Escobar criticized mask wearing being irregular at previous meetings, while arguing that “germs are good for the body” and critiquing spending on personal protective equipment.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describes masks and hand washing as being both safe and effective in slowing the spread of COVID-19.

“If someone passes gas, you can smell it. You can smell it. What does that mean, doctor?” Escobar said, seeming to direct his comments toward Trustee Louie Alamia, who’s employed in the medical field. “It’s going right through it, and all you’re doing is putting children to live in fear.”

Video from that meeting shows an agitated Escobar speaking over his three-minute time limit before shouting “wake up people” as he stepped out of frame.

District police records say that’s when officers were approaching him and described a brief shouting match between them.

As Escobar neared the door, he yelled, “I don’t need to wear this f—— mask” while removing his face mask, the records stated.

“Watch your language, sir,” an officer yelled back.

Escobar replied with “this is f—— bullshit.”

Officers placed Escobar in handcuffs and took him to the Edinburg CISD Police Department, where he voluntarily said he was “guilty as charged,” according to records.

Escobar was taken back to his vehicle later that evening.

During a local GOP event designed to teach conservatives to run for local office in January, Escobar told the crowd that he was an Edinburg resident and that he intended to run for a seat on the Edinburg school board.

“It’s not about me, Miguel Escobar; it’s about you and your kids,” he said.

It’s not clear if that’s still his intention. No Edinburg school board seats were at stake in 2020 and no trustees’s term expires until November 2022.

Escobar was back speaking out against masks to local boards as early as Sept. 13.