Schools in Virginia are on high alert after a mom made an apparent threat to bring loaded guns if they force her child to wear a mask.
Amelia King made the comments, which were perceived as a threat, during a Page County Public Schools meeting on Thursday — and it was all recorded on camera.
"I typically come to these meetings with a written statement; I like to sound educated, and when I go off the cuff I get really passionate," she told the board. "And I'm not always able to say exactly what I want to say in the appropriate way."
She goes on to calmly recall that the last time she spoke at a meeting, she did bring a prepared statement, but the moderator "had a fit" and cut her mic off after she went over her allotted three minutes, before someone else "requested back-up for arrest."
Frustratingly for the dental worker, the three-minute rule appears to foil her once again; she begins railing against former Governor Ralph Northam's mask mandate and the "cover-up" of the "rape" in neighboring Loudon County — the infamous "boy wearing a skirt" bathroom sexual assault case — before the timer stops her in her tracks.
"There's a lot of science, there's a lot of good science, you know the mask protects the person that's wearing it..." but that's as far as she gets when the alarm buzzes.
"That's three minutes," the moderator quietly tells her. So King gets right to the point.
"Alright: no mask mandates. My child, my children will not come to school on Monday with a mask on. Alright? That's not happening," she declares.
"And I will bring every single gun loaded and ready to... I will call every..."
"Okay, that's three minutes," the moderator again calmly interrupts. "You've gone past your time. It's a policy. Thank you."
"Mmm-hmm," King replies, gathering her things, before leaving with "I'll see you all on Monday."
The following morning, the school board issued a statement informing staff, parents and students that police had been notified.
"Last night at our School Board meeting during the Citizen Comment period there were comments made that referenced weapons and were perceived by many to be threatening in nature," it said. "Page County Public Schools does not take these kinds of statements lightly."
"Not only do comments such as these go against everything we wish to model for our students, they go against the very nature of how we as a community should interact with each other. Violence and threats are never acceptable or appropriate. This kind of behavior is not tolerated from our students, faculty, staff, nor will it be tolerated by parents or guests of our school division."
It said both Page County Sherriff's Office and Luray Police Department were providing increased presence at every school Friday and Monday in response.
Major Pete Moteleone of PCSO confirmed to TooFab that the incident was being investigated, and that they were increasing manpower at every school in the county as a precaution.
"We take a statement like that very serious," he said. "We never take anything like that with a grain of salt."
In a Facebook statement, Luray PD Chief Bow Cook said the parent had apologized "because the statement was not intended the way it was perceived". He added his office were still investigating it, and had reached out to federal law enforcement, but that no arrests had yet been made.
"In regard to the comments made by a parent at the Page County School Board Meeting on January 20, 2022. Luray Police Department takes all threats seriously, however, they must meet Virginia State Code and the parameters that are set forth, and must be a violation of state code. Luray Police Department, Page County Sheriff's Office and the Page County Commonwealth's Attorney's Office are actively investigating this 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," it read.
"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. This agency 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. This incident is still under investigation and no arrests have been made at this time."