A North Idaho College instructor has been charged with Misdemeanor Battery for allegedly assaulting a person holding a sign in support of the college’s Board of Trustees decision to repeal the university-wide mask mandate. 

Rachelle Ottosen stood at the September North Idaho College Board of Trustees meeting holding a sign picturing a red circle with the words “Medical Fascism” inside and a slash through it. Ottosen told Campus Reform that she brought the sign to show her support for the Board’s August decision to repeal its mask mandate. 

“I was just going to be a freedom fighter,” she said. 

In response, Ottosen says NIC part-time biology instructor Teresa Loar allegedly “slammed” into her and “popped the sign” out of her hands. Ottosen says that immediately after the altercation, Loar expressed to her that she was frustrated with the removal of the mandate. Paraphrasing Loar, Ottosen said Loar was upset that “because of people like [Ottosen] that she couldn’t force her students to wear masks.”

“For a couple seconds I was stunned, like what the heck just happened,” Ottosen told Campus Reform.

“There had been no interaction between us. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her before in my life. I’ve never talked to her. There was nothing else other than the fact that she could not stand my sign. She felt that that was justification in coming over and being violent,” Ottosen said. 

Ottosen says she suffered a minor wrist and arm injury and confirmed to Campus Reform that she has pressed charges against Loar. 

Campus Reform obtained a copy of the police report which shows that Misdemeanor Battery charges have been filed against Loar.

The report alleges that “while at an NIC School Board meeting spectator Teresa Loar battered spectator Rachelle Ottosen," adding "They had no relationship prior to the incident. No medical attention was needed. A report was taken charging Teresa with battery."

Ottosen says that she is “concerned” about the students’ ability to express their opinions freely and safely. 

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