EASTON, Pa. – Northampton County Executive Lamont McClure has been placed in the odd position of providing security at school meetings because of a fiery speech made by his own political opponent.
McClure said Thursday that Northampton Area School District Superintendent Joseph Kovalchik asked for the extra security. McClure did not discuss Steve Lynch, saying only that a "threat" was made against the NASD.
Lynch, a Republican, is running against incumbent Democrat McClure in the fall election. McClure has said Lynch is a "domestic terrorist." Lynch was at former President Donald Trump's Jan. 6 rally that led to an attack on the U.S. Capitol but has not been charged with any crimes related to the riot.
During a rally in Harrisburg on Sunday, Lynch said he would take "20 strong men" to a school board meeting and tell the members that "they can leave or be removed." Then parents would vote down the district's mask mandate.
Then on Monday, Lynch said he did not intend to incite violence or physical intimidation, claiming he was "neutralizing intimidation from the school board."
That apparently did not reassure Kovalchik. The executive agreed to send deputies to NASD meetings to assist police officers. The deputies will not have the authority to make arrests but they can help with crowd control.
On Tuesday, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf ordered a mask mandate for schools statewide.
"Maybe the heat has gone out of the (mask) issue a little bit" after Wolf's order, which supersedes local rules, McClure said at Thursday's county council meeting.
The Northampton school district will reimburse the county for sending deputies, McClure said.
During the council meeting, McClure and council members also discussed proposed warehouses at the Southmoore Golf Club and Dutch Springs aqua park, along with grants to help small businesses survive the pandemic.