EducationPolitics

Wyoming High School Girl Arrested, School Locked Down Over Refusal To Wear Mask (Video)

On Saturday, The Blaze reported that Grace Smith, a junior at Laramie High School in Wyoming, was arrested, taken off school grounds in handcuffs and her entire school locked down by armed police for 90 minutes because she refused to wear a mask.

According to a report at Pocatello, Idaho-based KPVI:

Grace Smith returned to LHS on Thursday morning after serving two consecutive two-day suspensions for not complying with Albany County School District No. 1’s mask mandate, which says anyone inside a district building must have his or her face covered. The rule, brought on by an upsurge in COVID-19 cases, was put in place last month and will be reviewed by the school board next week, ahead of a scheduled Oct. 15 sunset.

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Until then, Smith said she believes the mandate violates her constitutional rights and that she won’t wear a mask. As a result, she has been warned by LHS administration and faces two days of disciplinary suspension and a misdemeanor trespassing citation for every time she’s in the building and declines to mask up.

The first time she was suspended, “I just left,” Smith said. “Then, after talking with our attorney, we decided to push it, so on Tuesday I didn’t (leave) and took the citation for $500 and then left.”

Smith was ticketed by the Laramie Police Department for trespassing, then returned after a two-day suspension and was ticketed again.  She refused to leave the school, telling officers she has a right to be at school.  She was placed in handcuffs, and taken to the downtown Laramie police station where she was released.

“While she knew another $500 citation was coming her way, Smith said she was surprised the incident evolved to include a schoolwide lockdown and her arrest, especially as she wasn’t making a scene, wasn’t yelling and had made no threatening comments or actions,” KPVI reported.

“They told me they were going to do that,” Smith said. “I was surprised they followed through. They came up to me probably 20 minutes before I was arrested and said that if you continue to not leave, we will arrest you.”

Andy Smith, Grace’s father, said this was a departure from what had been expressed earlier in discussions with authorities.

“They told us how this was going to play out before it happened,” he said. “They all said they were not going to arrest kids. But she was taken into custody, handcuffed and brought down to the detention center.”

Why the lockdown?  According to a statement by the school district, there were no threats of violence or potential for harm from the teenage girl.

“The lockdown was issued in order to prevent further interruptions to academic learning,” the district said in a statement.  The Blaze said the objective “…might have perhaps been better accomplished by not locking down the entire school, since the video clearly shows that the arrest in question was neither noisy nor disruptive to the school at large.”

Cell phone video taken during the incident showed Smith to be polite and cooperative, but firm in her position.

Videos made their way to YouTube:

The Blaze added:

When asked why she is so insistent about refusing to wear a mask, Smith told KPVI, “It’s because I’m growing up in a country where I’m supposed to have my God-given rights to protect, and they’re being taken away. Everybody has the freedom to wear a mask if they choose, but I believe everybody also has the right to not wear a mask if they choose.” Smith also insisted that the decision to refuse to wear a mask was her choice, and was not influenced by her parents.

Smith also noted that since she began her protest, she has been “cussed out a lot” by her fellow students, and even faced retaliation from teachers. KPVI also notes that Smith faces possible expulsion from the school if the suspensions continue.

KPVI said Smith is “a straight-A student who takes Advanced Placement classes” and noted that for her, “not attending school is a sacrifice…”  In addition to missing her normal classes, Smith may “have to give up her lead role in the school play and her spot on the dance team.”

All because she dared to disobey a school mask mandate — something a recent CDC study said doesn’t work anyway.

Exit question: How long before Merrick Garland labels her a “domestic terrorist” and sics the FBI on her?

Update: The family has reportedly hired an attorney and a GiveSendGo fundraising campaign has already raised over $21,000.  The campaign, which can be seen here, states:

Grace has endured suspensions and was arrested for not wearing a mask. She has also been targeted by peers and school staff members for exercising her rights. Grace is raising funds to help with the legal cost of defending her civil liberties and the civil liberties of other students in Wyoming who are enduring the same unlawful treatment. By supporting this fight for their liberties, you are helping ensure the rights of every citizen of the state of Wyoming.

If you would like to help Grace and her family in this effort, you may do so by clicking here.

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Joe Newby

A 10-year veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, Joe ran for a city council position in Riverside, Calif., in 1991 and managed successful campaigns for the Idaho state legislature. Co-author of "Banned: How Facebook enables militant Islamic jihad," Joe wrote for Examiner.com from 2010 until it closed in 2016 and his work has been published at Newsbusters, Spokane Faith and Values and other sites. He now runs the Conservative Firing Line.

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