Loudoun County prepares to arrest maskless children in schools

Can you imagine young students being arrested for going maskless in school?

Unbelievably, some public school officials are doing more than imagining it. A leaked email widely circulated online reveals a security official in Loudoun County, Virginia actually coaching principals on how to obtain arrest warrants for children attempting to enter school without a mask.

As most of the country is leaving mask mandates behind, Loudoun County has been quietly ramping up enforcement to an unimaginable extreme. 

John Clark, director of safety and security for Loudoun County Public Schools, reportedly sent the email to district principals on Feb. 1. The email, screenshots of which were first shared on Twitter, includes instructions for obtaining warrants, along with directions for barring parental access to the school.

“If you determine that an individual should be trespassed then a school admin representative, in conjunction with S&S Coordinator Rich Thomas, will proceed to the magistrate to swear out a trespass summons/warrant,” the email says. “School admin will meet Rich Thomas at the Safety & Security office and then proceed to the magistrate, which is located next to our office.”

The email continues with the assurance that an arrest warrant would be served by law enforcement within 24 hours. 

The email also endorses a kind of Parent-Free Zone in schools: “Parents should only be admitted at your discretion,” Clark wrote. He also recommended schools establish “outdoor parent gathering areas” for parents picking up students, and restricted access to entrances.

“While parents have certain educational rights they do NOT have the right to enter your school without proper vetting and permission,” Clark added.

Loudoun County’s crackdown contradicts Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s executive order, which allows parents the freedom to opt out of mask-wearing for their children. That order was challenged by a group of parents in Chesapeake, claiming that Youngkin was required by state law to mandate masks. The Virginia Supreme Court rejected the claim, saying there is nothing in the state’s laws that require Youngkin to do so. The battle isn’t over yet, though, as a state judge in Arlington issued a temporary restraining order against Youngkin’s order Friday. The governor’s office has said it plans to appeal that order.

A statement by Superintendent Scott A. Ziegler denied that Loudoun County was planning to take legal action against maskless individuals. “LCPS does not have the authority to arrest or charge any suspended students or their parents for trespassing,” Ziegler said. “Furthermore, LCPS has not requested that local law enforcement charge any student with trespassing in connection with recent suspensions.”

Ziegler is the same superintendent that lied directly to Loudoun County parents last year, claiming the administration was not aware that a biological male wearing a skirt sexually assaulted a girl in a school restroom. Leaked emails later revealed that Ziegler did, in fact, know about what happened. 

Ziegler’s statement, released Feb. 4, came just three days after Clark’s email on arrest warrants. If LCPS had no plans to take legal action against maskless individuals, it is unclear why principals were being coached just days before on how to obtain warrants.