Wyoming Student Arrested For Not Wearing Mask?
Laramie high school junior (Albany County) Grace Smith was arrested Thursday morning for not wearing a mask, says her father. The school is charging her with trespassing, but there are those who say that the trespassing charge is because she refused to wear a mask.
Her father, Andy Smith, was a guest on Cowboy State Politics, a podcast out of Buffalo, Wyoming. You can listen to Mr. Smith's entire interview at this link.
Mr. Smith describes his daughter as a straight "A" student who loves dance class and is involved in her school's theater.
When her high school issued a mask mandate she told her parents she would not comply. He explains that each time she was asked to put on a mask by a teacher she would politely refuse.
Initially, the school was offering exemptions for the mask if the parents would sign a form. But at some point the school superintendent revoked all of those exemptions.
Soon, other students were not wearing masks and when it reached the point that about half the students were not in compliance, according to Mr. Smith, the school began to take action.
Upon her first of several suspensions he turned to the Wyoming State Constitution, Article 1 Section 38 (a) Each competent adult shall have the right to make his or her own health care decisions...
He also found that state health officers cannot issues health mandates unless there a state of emergency is declaimed. The last state of emergency was regarding COVID but has expired.
At that point, Mr. Smith began calling everyone from the governor's office on down. Everyone passed the buck on to the next office. He began meeting with local school officials but they insisted they had the authority to issue a mask mandate. If he disagreed he would need to take it to court.
NOW LETS GE BACK TO THE ARREST.
According to her father, the school told her that she would have to leave or she would be suspended. If she refused to leave the school grounds it would then become a legal matter. During this meeting, with her father and police presence in the room, Grace refused to leave and said she was going back to class.
The officers explained that if she did not leave she would get a verbal warning. After that, she would get a citation. If she still did not leave then they would put the school into lockdown. At that point, the officers are instructed not to touch the student. She can sit in the principal's office as long as she wanted. At that point, her father went down to the police station to speak with the senior officer of the school recourse officers. The officer politely explains that no one will be arrested. She will get a citation.
The next day she returned to school again. Grace wanted to push the issue and put the school into lockdown. On that day Grace chose to go home.
But the next time Grace decided to refuse the school went into lockdown. But this time the police decided to take the extra step and arrest Grace.
The police said they did not arrest her for not wearing a mask. From their point of view, they arrested her for trespassing during her suspension.
You can hear the audio of the arrest of the Cowboy State Politics podcast. During the arrest both Grace and the officers are very polite to each other and cooperative.
Since this story is so new there is no reaction yet from the police department or school. it will be posted here as soon as they issue a statement.