A woman who was arrested after she entered a Plaistow school building without a mask last week is facing a new charge and hefty fines.
Kate Bossi, who was initially charged with disorderly conduct for defying the Timberlane Regional School District’s school mask policy and ignoring police orders not to enter, also will be charged with criminal trespass, Plaistow police prosecutor Kevin Coyle said.
Both charges are Class B misdemeanors and carry fines of up to $1,200.
Bossi, 57, was arrested after showing up at a Timberlane school board meeting on May 20 with a group of people who were not wearing masks, as required by school policy.
Bossi, who was the first to enter the Timberlane Performing Arts Center, was the only person arrested.
Coyle said Bossi was charged with disorderly conduct for “knowingly refusing to comply with Plaistow police Sgt. Alec Porter’s lawful order not to enter the premises of the Performing Arts Center … in that she pushed past Sgt. Porter and entered after being told twice not to enter.”
Coyle said Bossi was told not to enter because she wasn’t wearing a mask.
The criminal trespass charge makes a similar allegation.
Asked why other unmasked attendees weren’t charged, Coyle said, “I think that the police department used discretion in not charging them, although they could have been. She was the first one and after her interviews certainly made it clear that she intended to enter no matter what the police said.”
School board Chairwoman Kimberly Farah shut down the in-person meeting after the arrest and later resumed the meeting remotely. She said she didn’t want to jeopardize the health and safety of students and staff because of the unmasked audience members.
Farah, who also serves on the Danville Board of Selectmen, was one of three selectmen who had walked out of their board’s meeting a few days earlier after an unmasked crowd showed up despite a mask requirement for town buildings.
Bossi declined to comment for this article, but in an interview with WRKO radio hosts Howie Carr and Grace Curley, she said she was part of a group of “concerned citizens” who planned to address the mask issue with the board.
She said their presentation was “going to be educational.”
“The real story is not about the Sunday school teacher that got arrested. The real story is about Kim Farah, who shuts down meetings and runs away,” she said.
Bossi said she was surprised that she was arrested over a school policy.
“I really, quite frankly, did not think that the police were this misinformed about what was going on,” she said.
Once she entered the auditorium and was told she was being arrested, Bossi said she responded by telling the police, “No, we’re taking our seats.”
At that point, she said she “still thought that he was going to reconsider how nuts this was.”
After her arrest, Bossi said she told Porter, “I hope that through this, you guys get a clearer understanding of what to do as the police because I can see that you’re in a ridiculous position. You just arrested me for not wearing a mask. You just enforced a school policy.”
Coyle maintains that police handled the situation appropriately.
“We elect people to make decisions that we may not agree with, but the proper way to disagree with those decisions is to vote those people out. You have to live by the decisions that are made, otherwise society goes into chaos,” he said.
Bossi is scheduled to be arraigned on June 21 in Salem Circuit Court.