The Middletown Board of Education backed off a plan to openly defy Gov. Phil Murphy's mask mandate when classes resume next month.

The board has planned on adopting a policy that would allow kids to ditch the mask if parents submitted a letter. To the disappointment of hundreds of parents who packed last night's meeting, they abandoned that policy.

Board attorney Bruce Padula informed members he had been contacted by the governor's office, and it was not a friendly call. He says the Murphy administration made it clear "if the district moved forward with the policy, the state of New Jersey would immediately sue the district."

When asked about districts possibly defying his mask order on Monday, Murphy told reporters, "We will not look kindly on that and will take the appropriate action in response."

Middletown School Board member Frank Capone helped write the parental note exemption. He was spoiling for a fight with the man he called "King Murphy." To cheers from parents, Capone said he would "proudly stand behind what we wrote."

In the end, the Board approved a policy that would allow an exemption from the mask mandate if parents submitted a doctor's note. Some tearful parents told the board that would be virtually impossible to get.

Other parents said they would continue the fight, and raised the prospect of sending kids to school without a mask anyway.

Middletown is Murphy's home district. His shore mansion is there, and has been the scene of multiple anti-mask protests.

You can watch the full school board meeting below.

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New Jersey tied for first place (with Kentucky) with 43% growth in the craft beer scene from 2015 to 2019, according to C+R Research.

The following is a roundup of breweries around the state with scenic, dedicated outdoor seating as weather allows.

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