Amelia King made the comment at the Page County Public School Board meeting in Luray, on Thursday evening. She said: “No mask mandates. My children will not come to school on Monday with a mask on, alright. That’s not happening”.
The apparent threat followed: “I will bring every single gun loaded and ready”.
Ms King was then swiftly told her three minutes of allowed comment time was up. “I will see you Monday,” she said before walking out the door.
Page County schools superintendent Antonia Fox and school board chair Megan Gordon released a joint statement on Friday explaining they had notified police about the mother’s comments. They stated that they were working with Luray Police Department and Page County Sheriff’s Office to provide an “increased police presence” at every Page County school on Friday and Monday, in light of Ms King’s comments.
“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 a community should interact with each other,” wrote Ms Fox and Ms Gordon in their statement. “Violence and threats are never acceptable or appropriate. This kind of behaviour is not tolerated from our students, faculty, staff, nor will it be tolerated by parents or guests of our school division.”
A friend of Ms King has come to her defence, explaining that her words had been taken out of context and were meant figuratively, not literally. “She has an amazing heart for this community, her family, her friends and her clients. She would never ever do anything to jeopardise anyone or harm anyone,” wrote Emily Short on Facebook.
“The statement at the school board open comment was a poorly chosen figure of speech that was unfinished and is now being taken out of context. Amelia intended to say something to the extent that she would bring a full arsenal of media, social media, protesting etc on Monday if the school board decided to continue a mask mandate. I know that Amelia would never ever bring a gun to the schools.”
The Independent has reached out to Ms King for comment. Police are investigating the incident, but no arrests have been made. Luray Police Department issued a statement on Friday morning.
“The statement that was made absolutely caused public alarm, the parent that made the statement realised that, and immediately contacted law enforcement to apologise because the statement was not intended the way it was perceived,” wrote the department.
“The safety of the students and school staff are our number one priority, we are working diligently with the Page County School Board to ensure proper measures have been put in place for their safety. This agency has also reached out to state and federal law enforcement agencies regarding this incident. We have been in contact with the parent who made the statement, she is cooperating with law enforcement. “
Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin recently signed an executive order so parents have the choice as to whether they send their children into school wearing masks. The board meeting was called to determine if a local mask mandate should be upheld in light of growing coronavirus concerns.
The county saw its highest level of new coronavirus cases last week. Positive tests for Covid are currently at 42 per cent in the county.