A soft-spoken Wyoming high school student wound up in handcuffs and officials locked down her school for more than an hour after she declined to comply with a face mask mandate.
In the encounter and its aftermath, which was documented in several video uploads as well as shared on Twitter by conservative influencer Robby Starbuck, cops first issued Grace Smith, 16, a ticket for trespassing after a lot of back-and-forth dialogue and warnings.
When the teen refused to leave the premises, police officers arrested her for trespassing and took her to the Laramie, Wyo., police station, where she was subsequently released, according to KPVI. One officer claimed that her mere presence restricted the movement of more than one thousand students.
Smith, a straight-A student who takes AP classes and participates in the high school drama club (including the lead role in the school play) and with the dance team, and her dad, Andy, contend that the mask mandate is a violation of constitutional rights.
The father apparently maintains that there is no state statute that gives the school district the authority to enforce a mask mandate or issue a suspension.
Grace had reportedly been suspended previously for noncompliance with the Albany County School District’s rule, which is currently in effect until October 15, but could be extended by the school board. Further suspensions for noncompliance could result in Grace getting expelled from school altogether.
In cell phone videos which are embedded below and for which you can draw your own conclusions, cops and school administrators appear to tell Grace’s dad that any constitutional challenge must be resolved in court and that they are just dutifully following orders.
The Smiths are reportedly taking the matter into the court system.
Meet Grace. She's a 16 year old girl who's showing more courage than most men right now. She's refusing to comply with the mask mandate her Wyoming school board is trying to force. She was fined and arrested. Here's her arrest. She's a hero.
— Robby Starbuck (@robbystarbuck) October 9, 2021
The school district described the incident as a “student disciplinary disturbance,” which justified a 90-minute lockdown to keep everyone “safe,” the Wyoming News Exchange reported, even though video suggests that Grace was calm and non-confrontational.
“The lockdown was issued in order to prevent further interruptions to academic learning,” the district added.
“Laramie High School leadership justified the response, saying they didn’t want to disrupt the other students. So they instead disrupted the classrooms with an intruder-style lockdown. These people are in charge of education. How terrifying is that?,” Outkick’s Bobby Burack wondered rhetorically.
“The police got the 16-year-old girl who put the school’s vaccinated staff and masked students in great danger of COVID. Everyone is safe now…Win or lose, Grace Smith, at only 16, is braver than most of our leaders in education, corporate America, and Washington,” Burack opined.
Grace implied that she has been bullied by students and teachers over her anti-mask view. But she does not appear to be backing down.
“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,” the news outlet. “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.”
In a conference with school administrators about the incident, Andy Smith told the officials that Grace “is a great kid. She’s a wonderful student; she’s not doing anything to harm anybody. She’s not done anything unlawful, and all she wants to do is maintain her rights as a citizen of this state, and you are taking that away from her, and you have no right to do so.”
There is no statewide mask mandate in effect in Wyoming.
“To consider lifting the mandate, the county will need to be in the COVID ‘Yellow Zone’ for three weeks, indicating moderate transmission, or have its vaccination rate hit at least 70%. The Wyoming Department of Health reports that as of [October 4], the county is in the ‘Red Zone,’ indicating high transmission levels and a vaccination rate of 49%,” the Wyoming News exchange reported.
Parenthetically, in a recent CDC study of the Georgia school system that much of media seemed to ignore, the liberal New York magazine asserted, “Distancing, hybrid models, classroom barriers, HEPA filters, and, most notably, requiring student masking were each found to not have a statistically significant benefit. In other words, these measures could not be said to be effective.”
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) August 23, 2021
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