Virginia police said they arrested a woman on Friday who threatened to bring loaded guns to her children’s school in protest of a mask mandate during a school board meeting, prompting school officials to increase security.
The parent, Amelia Ruffner King, was charged with making a verbal threat while on school property and released by a judge on a $5,000 bond, the Luray Police Department said.
“No mask mandates. My child ― my children ― will not come to school Monday with a mask on, alright? That’s not happening,” King told the school board during a comment period on Thursday.
“And I will bring every single gun loaded and ready,” she said before being cut off because she had passed the 3-minute speaking limit.
As she turned to leave, King told the board: “I’ll see y’all on Monday.”
She then emailed the school board to say she did not actually mean to threaten violence, according to the Daily News-Record, a local newspaper.
“I in no way meant to imply ‘all guns loaded’ as in actual firearms, but rather all resources I can muster to make sure that my children get to attend school without masks. My sincere apologies for my poor choice in words,” King wrote, according to the paper.
The Luray Police Department said she is cooperating. The town is about two hours west of Washington, D.C.
King’s outburst was just the latest example of an angry citizen threatening violence against local officials over a mask mandate, which are implemented to protect public health due to COVID-19. In other places around the country, students are staging walkouts for more protections at school, concerns about potentially spreading the virus to family members.
Virginia’s newly sworn-in Republican governor, Glenn Youngkin, did away with the state’s mask mandate for K-12 schools on his very first day in office, sparking concern from parents, school districts and Democratic lawmakers. Several parents filed suit against Youngkin over the order this week.
Youngkin’s order allows school districts to implement mask mandates as they see fit, but also created an opt-out choice for parents who don’t want their kids wearing masks at school.
While the case is pending in Virginia courts, Younkin instructed parents to “listen to their principal” on the issue of masking in the classroom.