A high school student in Wyoming was arrested last Thursday after refusing to wear a mask, which led the school to lock down for more than an hour.
Grace Smith, 16, who attends Laramie High School, said in an interview with Wyoming State Sen. Anthony Bouchard (R) that she was suspended for six days as part of three consecutive two-day suspensions. She also told the state senator that she was fined $1,000 for trespassing after she refused to leave the school over the mask dispute, the Washington Examiner reported.
“It makes me angry,” Smith told the state lawmaker. “It makes me feel unwanted by the school system. It makes me stressed out that I have to fight this battle as a 16-year-old. Right now, I should be playing sports and having fun. And instead, I’m fighting for the rights that were supposed to be won hundreds of years ago.”
Bouchard responded to Smith by saying she was doing “what really everybody has to do.”
“I’ve seen from the beginning of this, everything has been about following orders, it’s all about compliance, but I don’t really see a real direction we’re going in other than making people fit into a mold,” Bouchard said.
As the Examiner reported, Laramie High School currently requires students to wear masks while in school but will decide on October 15 whether to drop the mask mandate or extend it.
Fox News reported that Smith recorded herself getting arrested on the day of the incident, which showed police officers treating her politely. Smith’s father, Andrew, told Bouchard that his daughter was technically arrested for trespassing after she refused to leave the school when she was asked to for not wearing a face mask. Smith had said during her arrest that she had a right to continue attending school.
Smith also said that she was a “straight-A student” who had “never broken the law,” according to Fox.
“I would never choose to do anything wrong and I never saw myself sitting in the back of a cop car, handcuffed,” the teenager said.
The high school said in a statement to the Laramie Boomerang that Smith’s arrest caused a “brief lockdown” as a precaution to “prevent further interruptions to academic learning.”
On Tuesday, Grace and her father appeared on “Fox & Friends First” to discuss her arrest last week.
“They gave me a second $500 citation for trespassing after my suspension, and then proceeded to arrest me after putting the school in lockdown for an hour and a half,” she said on the program.
Smith told host Todd Piro that when she was arrested, all she could think about was getting back to class.
“I wanted to go back to class just so I could learn, I never thought they would actually arrest me. Honestly, it really surprised me to see them put me in cuffs and take me to jail,” she said.
Her father said the government should have defended his daughter’s rights.
“Nobody would step in and act on Grace’s behalf, and support her civil liberties guaranteed in the constitution of Wyoming, so it has been amazing to witness from an outsider’s perspective and appalling frankly, that they would take it this far,” her father said. “Nobody through the entire administration whether it be law enforcement officers, the city police chief, the county sheriff, the governor’s office stepped in on her behalf.”
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