By Newsweek |
Father of Student Who Missed Field Trip Over COVID Arrested After Threatening Principal
The father of an elementary school student in Arizona was arrested Friday after he reportedly threatened the school's principal for telling his child to miss a field trip and quarantine after potential exposure to COVID-19, the Associated Press reported. The 40-year-old man was one of several people involved in a confrontation at Mesquite Elementary School on Thursday, though police haven't said whether there were any additional arrests.
Tucson police were called to the school Thursday after getting "a report of a fight brewing," said Officer Roman Acosta, a spokesman for the police department. At least one person carried cable ties as the group threatened to make a citizen's arrest of the principal, Vail Unified School District Superintendent John Carruth said.
The man school officials identified as the father of the student told to quarantine was arrested with a trespassing citation.
"The principal through training and her own personality did an excellent job of making sure that tensions didn't escalate," Carruth told the AP.
For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.
The arrest is the latest in a number of confrontations and other encounters that have occurred in school settings around the country over virus-related rules.
Another man among those who went to the school and who posted video of the encounter with the principal on social media did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
School district officials said three men, who had the student with them, went to the school office to protest the school's enforcement of directives from Pima County health officials to help combat the spread of the coronavirus.
The principal met with the people in her office for about 20 minutes before asking them to leave, which they refused to do, Carruth said.
The principal then left the office and called police. The people left before officers arrived, Carruth said.
Carruth said the decision to call police was appropriate under the circumstances amid isolated flare-ups of tensions related to the pandemic.
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Still, most people, while frustrated by the continuing impacts of the pandemic, are supportive of each other and the school system, he said.
"The tactics are escalating but I wouldn't say there is a broader need to raise concern," he said. "The solution and the lesson and the silver lining in this (incident) is it calls attention to the need for all of us to seek to listen with the intent to understand."
This wasn't the first virus-inspired confrontation involving the Vail district, which serves an area on Tucson's southeastern outskirts.
In April, the district board ended a study session and then canceled a regular meeting after dozens of parents protested the district's refusal to lift its mask mandate aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19. Sheriff's deputies were summoned to help keep order after protesting parents, many not wearing masks, pushed their way into the board room.
Acosta, the police spokesman, declined to provide additional information on the incident Thursday, saying details could be obtained through a public records request. The Police Department did not immediately respond to a record request submitted by the AP.