LURAY, Va. – A Virginia parent opposed to mask mandates threatened to bring loaded guns to school Monday if her child was forced to wear a mask.
The parent, Amelia King, 42, allegedly made an oral threat on school property after she was cut off during a public comment section of the Page County Public School Board meeting Thursday.
The school board voted in favor of making masks optional for students beginning Monday. That follows an executive order by Gov. Glenn Youngkin giving parents the choice to send their children to school masked or unmasked.
Not all area schools are following the executive order. Nearby, both Staunton and Waynesboro public schools had said they will continue to require masks. Augusta County is waiting until at least Feb. 14 to make masks optional.
“Alright. No mask mandates,” King told board members before the vote and during the meeting's public comment section after her three-minute comment period ended. The meeting can be viewed on YouTube. “My children will not come to school on Monday with a mask on. That’s not happening and I will bring every single gun loaded and ready.”
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On Friday, King was charged with making an oral threat while on school property, according to the Luray Police Department's Facebook page. The post said that the magistrate has released King on a $5,000 unsecured bond.
No mask mandates. My children will not come to school Monday with a mask on. I will bring every single gun, loaded and ready … I’ll see y’all on Monday.” - woman at a Page County Public Schools board meeting
— Missy (@TNSociallyMissy) January 21, 2022
The Luray Police Department posted a statement on its Facebook page Friday afternoon, saying its department along with the Page County Sheriff’s Office and the Page County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office are actively investigating the incident.
“The statement that was made absolutely caused public alarm, the parent that made the statement realized that, and immediately contacted law enforcement to apologize because the statement was not intended the way it was perceived,” the statement said. “The safety of the students and school staff are our number one priority, we are working diligently with the Page County School Board to ensure proper measures have been put in place for their safety.”
The post on the department’s Facebook page has received more than 700 comments, many people upset that the speaker wasn’t immediately arrested for her threat.
“It was a terroristic threat,” wrote Barbara Lewis. “I'm not surprised you're not treating it as such, but she should have been arrested immediately.”
“We all heard what she said,” wrote Richard Edelman. “She threatened violence at a school, on Monday. A bomb threat, made under the same circumstances, would be cause for arrest. The threat has been made, that is the crime.
The Luray Police Department said it has also reached out to state and federal law enforcement agencies regarding this incident.
“We have been in contact with the parent who made the statement, she is cooperating with law enforcement,” the statement said. “This incident is still under investigation and no arrests have been made at this time.”
Page County Superintendent Antonia Fox and School Board Chairperson Megan Gordon released a joint statement Thursday in which they said the school division “does not take these kinds of statements lightly,” and is working with law enforcement on the issue.
The letter also said there would be increased police presence at the school Monday.
“Not only do comments such as these go against everything we wish to model for our students,” the statement said. “They go against the very nature of how we as a community should interact with each other.”
This article originally appeared on Staunton News Leader: Virginia parent threatens to bring guns to school over mask mandate