Loudoun County Public Schools has responded to rumors that students without masks are at risk of arrest, saying no students have been arrested for not following coronavirus-related rules, such as wearing a mask. mask. The county added, however, that it is true that students can be suspended for repeated violations of policies implemented in response to China’s coronavirus, and if suspended students return to school, they could be cited for trespassing. .
School officials say students who repeatedly refuse to follow coronavirus-related rules, such as wearing a mask, can be suspended, according to a WUSA 9 report. And if a student returns to school school while suspended, that student may be issued a Trespass Notice.
“This is standard practice and a warning that appears on all suspension notices,” Loudoun County Public Schools Superintendent Scott Ziegler said.
Ziegler went on to insist that “students suspended for defying COVID mitigation protocols will not be charged with trespassing,” although he states on a maskless student’s suspension letter that the student may receive a trespassing notice if they return to school without permission.
Earlier this week, a video containing purported audio from the vice principal of a Loudoun County elementary school was posted on social media, where it went viral.
In the video, the vice principal can be heard saying that students can be heard warning parents that their children who break protocols “will be held in a restricted situation at school”, until they are collected , and “will be considered trespassing”. if they return to campus.
“Until you arrive, your children will be held in an academic restriction situation here at school,” the alleged Loudoun County deputy superintendent said.
“It is important that I advise you – stated in the letter you will receive this – that they are not permitted on campus or on Loudoun County Public School property, beginning tomorrow this will be considered like an intrusion,” she added.
This is the audio of the vice principal of a Loudoun County elementary school advising parents that children who return to school without a mask will be charged with ‘trespassing’
In Virginia, trespassing is a Class I felony punishable by up to 12 months in jail or a $2,500 fine. pic.twitter.com/lawXgLIfI5
— Chrissy Clark (@chrissyclark_) February 2, 2022
A Loudoun County spokesperson, however, told WUSA 9 that trespassing charges are not common. Ziegler added that no student has been arrested for returning to school while suspended.
“LCPS does not have the authority to arrest or charge suspended students or their parents for trespassing,” he said. “Furthermore, the LCPS has not asked local law enforcement to charge a student with trespassing in connection with recent suspensions.”
A Loudoun County spokesperson told WUSA 9 that students who don’t wear masks can be suspended for up to ten days and that the suspension would be for “willful or continued disobedience of school rules.”
He added that although suspended students are not allowed on campus, they can still return at any time before the end of those ten days, as long as they follow the mask rules.
“I want to emphasize that, despite some unverified media reports, no student has been arrested for trespassing,” Ziegler said. “Media accounts of the LCPS arresting students are not accurate and create fear and potential harm to our students.”
“We want to assure the community that our primary goal is to keep students in school, learning, and safe,” the Loudoun County Public Schools Superintendent added.
The Loudoun County school board reportedly voted 8 to 1 in favor of keeping students masked, despite an executive order from Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) giving parents the power to decide whether or not their child should be forced to wear a mask at school.
You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Facebook and Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.