Local, state and federal officials are investigating a threat made by a parent Thursday evening at a Virginia school board meeting where members voted on whether face masks would continue to be required at the district’s schools. The woman said she “will bring every single gun loaded and ready” after stating that she will not send her children to school wearing a face mask.
“I’ll see you all on Monday,” parent Amelia King said at the Page County Public Schools board meeting.
Later during the meeting, a school board member read an emailed statement from King where she apologized for her phrasing of the threat.
“I in no way meant to imply all guns loaded as in actual firearms, but rather all resources I can muster to make sure that my children get to attend school without masks,” she clarified. “My sincere apologies for my poor choice in words.”
Nonetheless, school officials condemned the threat, saying in a statement that the district “does not take these kinds of statements lightly.” Superintendent Antonia M. Fox and school board chair Megan Gordon said there would be increased police presence at each school within the district on Friday and Monday.
“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 community should interact with each other,” Fox and Gordon said in a joint statement Friday. “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.”
The Luray Police Department, Page County Sheriff’s Office and the Page County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office are actively investigating the incident. No arrests have been made and officials have been in contact with King who, they said, is being cooperative with law enforcement, according to the Luray Police Department.
“The statement that was made absolutely caused public alarm,” police said in a statement Friday. “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 police department said it “has also reached out to state and federal law enforcement agencies regarding this incident.”
Board members Thursday called the special meeting to vote on the executive order from Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin, which allows parents to choose whether their children wear face masks to school or not. This week, the newly sworn in governor enacted the order to give parents “the fundamental right to make decisions concerning the care of their children.”