Oregon school board fires superintendent who drew fire for enforcing state mask mandate

A school board in rural Oregon has fired its superintendent after he came under fire for enforcing the state's school mask mandate.

The Oregonian reports that Adrian School District superintendent Kevin Purnell was fired by the Adrian School Board in a 4-1 vote on Monday after a closed-door session that lasted less than an hour.

The commission did not give an official reason for Purnell's termination, although both his supporters and opponents believe that his efforts to enforce Oregon's statewide school mask mandate was a significant factor.

"Purnell has said he is not in favor of Gov. Kate Brown's mandates, but he was described in comments by Adrian residents as a 'rule follower' who would enforce them anyway," reports The Oregonian.

Eric Ellis, a local businessman, told The Oregonian he was disappointed in Purnell's dismissal.

"We say that an outcome of education at Adrian is to produce good citizens," he told the paper. "To achieve that, our children must be led by honorable and moral leaders. Dismissing Mr. Purnell would send the exact opposite message – that we want only educational leaders who lead when it is convenient and non-controversial, and in accordance with the short-term passions of the vocal minority."