A Virginia mother was charged with making a threat on school property after she told local board members she would bring “every single gun loaded” if the district instituted a mask mandate.
Renewed mask fights were touched off this month after the new Republican governor of Virginia, Glenn Youngkin, issued an executive order making masks optional for students, subject to the preference of parents.
In Luray, a small town in the Shenandoah Valley, the governor’s move prompted a special board meeting on Covid-19 mitigation strategies.
At the Thursday meeting, Amelia Ruffner King, 42, told school board members: “No mask mandates – my child, my children will not come to school on Monday with masks on. That’s not happening.”
She continued: “And I will bring every single gun loaded and ready to – I will,” before she was cut off.
“That’s three minutes,” a school official said.
Initially, police said they had increased security at schools but not made any arrests.
Ruffner King’s statement “absolutely caused public alarm”, police said, adding that she “contacted law enforcement to apologize”.
“We have been in contact with the parent who made the statement, she is cooperating with law enforcement,” police said. “This incident is still under investigation.”
Police later charged Ruffner King and released her, on a $5,000 bond.
After the meeting, school superintendent Antonio Fox said in a letter: “Page county public schools does not take these kinds of statements lightly.”
Later that evening, board members voted to move from required universal masking to optional masking.
The decision was made in spite of warnings from the superintendent that without masks, more students may be forced to quarantine if a student is found to be infected.