A Wyoming teen was filming last week as she was placed under arrest for refusing to wear a face mask inside her school building.
In the footage, a Laramie High School official tells 16-year-old Grace Smith she’s not allowed to enter a hallway to go to class because she’s not wearing a mask.
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Grace Smith returned to LHS on Thursday morning after serving two consecutive two-day suspensions for not complying with Albany County School District #1’s mask mandate, which says anyone inside a district building must have his or her face covered. The rule, brought on by an upsurge in COVID-19 cases, was put in place last month and will be reviewed by the school board next week, ahead of a scheduled Oct. 15 sunset.
After the high school junior refuses to put on a mask, an administrator comes up to her and has her sign paperwork indicating she’s being suspended.
Grace again refuses to don a mask and refuses to leave the school building.
At this point, an announcement goes out over the intercom that the school has been placed on lockdown, and an officer informs the student he intends to handcuff her and bring her down to the station.
“You’ve been suspended,” an officer tells her. “They’ve asked you to leave. Sounds like you’re refusing. As law enforcement, I am now respectfully requesting that you leave the premises because you’ve been suspended. Are you willing to do that?”
“No,” Grace replied.
She’s next told she’s restricting the movement of thousands of students who’ve been placed on lockdown and that she will soon be arrested.
“I am going to warn you now if this continues for a length of time to where I feel that we have now hampered the ability for every student in here to get an education I will be placing you into handcuffs and I’ll be taking you down to the jail, and I will remove you from the building,” the officer tells her, and issues her a $500 citation for trespassing, her second citation in a week.
After she still refused to leave the school building, officers placed the otherwise peaceful student under arrest.
“They told me they were going to do that,” Grace said in comments to Laramie Boomerang. “I was surprised they followed through. They came up to me probably 20 minutes before I was arrested and said that if you continue to not leave, we will arrest you.”
The footage also followed Grace’s dad into a meeting with school administrators and the superintendent, who told him she’s suspended out of school for two days for refusing to wear a face mask.
Grace’s dad informed the administrators they’ve violated his daughter’s constitutional rights and he intends to file a lawsuit against the school.
Grace told the Boomerang she feels it’s her right to refuse a face mask.
“It’s because I’m growing up in a country where I’m supposed to have my God-given rights to protect, and they’re being taken away,” she said. “Everybody has the freedom to wear a mask if they choose, but I believe everybody also has the right to not wear a mask if they choose.”
She also claimed she’s been bullied and is discriminated against by teachers.
“I get cussed out a lot,” she said. “People have called me mean names. Nobody has physically harmed me, but some of my best friends now won’t talk to me.”
“The discrimination from the teachers is just absurd,” Grace said. “I had one teacher who tried to force a mask onto my face.”
A GiveSendGo fundraiser for Grace’s legal fees has thus far raised over $51,000.
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