United American Defense Force, which is the militia division of the far-right conspiracist group FEC United, is calling on all members to pack the District 20 school board meeting in Colorado Springs this evening.
Today’s action is in opposition to mask mandates, which UADF says should be “entirely eradicated.”
The following text message went out to the FEC United list at 9:42 AM.
UADF is calling all UADF and FEC members to action.
Taping masks on children’s faces is just more PROOF that the education system does NOT care about the mental health and wellbeing of students. Recently, a D20 student was forced to tape her mask to her face. Lack of transparency for parents means this may not be an isolated incident. Mask mandates in schools should be entirely eradicated, and we must take action NOW to stop the insanity.
Join us TONIGHT at the D20 BOE meeting to support OUR KIDS.1110 Chapel Hills Dr. Co Springs, 80920
We are asking those responding to this callout to arrive at 5PM, one hour prior to the start of the BOE meeting. Those in alignment with current policies arrive early and pack the board room. It is critical that our demands are heard to Save Our Students!
The message also claims that a student was recently forced to tape her mask to her face. CBS 4 Denver reported on that claim yesterday.
District 20 spokesperson Allison Cortez says the district is conducting an internal investigation into the allegation, which she noted has circulated so rapidly on social media that it’s difficult to be clear upon the initial facts.
“We are interviewing all of the students and teachers from the particular pod at Chinook middle school,” said Cortez. “The district will release a report once the investigation is complete.”
As to the UADF militia’s call for attendees at tonight’s meeting, Cortez says the district was unaware of the text message, but that meetings have seen a marked increase in public attendance overall since last summer and particularly in the last couple of months. Board meetings always include security guards and sometimes Colorado Springs Police Department School Resource officers. The district also has a designated space for larger groups of people wishing to protest or otherwise express a message.
This isn’t the first time the militia has directed members to a school board meeting.
In July, UADF members attended a meeting of the Cherry Creek school district. They wore UADF shirts but did not open-carry weapons nor did they have the military-style tactical gear the group often displays at public gatherings. The group mistakenly believed the district was incorporating so-called “Critical Race Theory.”
UADF’s leader, John Tiegen, a former Marine and Trump campaign spokesman who is also on the board of FEC United, last year characterized his group’s purpose as teaching “urban warfare.”
Tiegen pitched FEC United members on joining his militia at an October 2020 meeting from which this journalist was removed by an armed UADF member.
“We have to come together. Even if you don’t join UADF, said Tiegen. “I know Joe [Oltmann] doesn’t want me to say this, but there are other organizations that aren’t going to charge you a member fee. There are other organizations that they’ll train you how to do urban warfare. They’ll train you had do all kinds of stuff. But they never show up either. That’s why I’m standing here, because they never showed up.”
According to its website, UADF membership includes “discounts on ammunition; medical supplies; hard goods; soft goods; weapons, tactical, and CPR/ first aid training, as well as public safety notifications.”
In addition to low-cost weapons and ammunition, the group also provides “access to legal protection for members in the event of having to discharge a weapon to stop a threat.”
FEC United founder Joe Oltmann has denied that FEC United and UADF are anything other than occasional partners despite the fact that FEC United hosts the UADF website and describes UADF as “a division of FEC.”
FEC United did not immediately respond to a Facebook message requesting comment on the text message from UADF and whether its members plan on being armed at or outside the meeting. This article will be updated with any response received.