Five schools in the city of Kenosha, Wisconsin, have moved to virtual learning for the rest of the week as the city anticipates protests in the wake of a verdict in the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse.
The five schools, Brass Elementary, Frank Elementary School, Harborside Academy, Reuther Central High School, and Washington Middle School, were all closed Thursday as a safety precaution because of their close proximity to the Kenosha County Courthouse, where the trial is taking place, according to WISN 12 Milwaukee.
“While we have not been advised of any existing imminent danger, we feel this is the best course of action to protect our students and staff during an uncertain time,” the Kenosha Unified School District said in a message to parents, via WISN. We will continue to work closely with law enforcement to receive support as needed in the days and weeks ahead.”
The schools will remain closed Friday and over the weekend.
The move comes as protests escalated outside the courthouse as the city, and the nation, brace for the verdict. The Daily Wire reported Tuesday that some protesters gathered outside the courthouse, chanting “no justice, no peace,” and “If Kenosha don’t get it, shut it down,” among other slogans. The commotion reportedly could be heard inside at times.
The New York Post reported further escalations by protesters Wednesday. According to the Post, a protester was arrested after he attempted to steal the sign of a pro-Rittenhouse demonstrator, then punched and body-slammed a journalist who attempted to intervene. The Post further reported that another physical altercation broke out between the same two individuals shortly afterward. Both the man and another protester were arrested.
A video posted by WISN 12 showed protesters and media reporters outside the county courthouse surrounding a Kenosha Police van as officers arrested and detained an unidentified protester outside the courthouse.
The jury is now in its third day of deliberation, having spent most of the day Wednesday asking questions about whether they would be able to view high definition video of the moment Rittenhouse shot Joseph Rosenbaum, the first man shot by Rittenhouse on the night of August 25, 2020.
Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers has also activated 500 members of the National Guard to render support to local law enforcement, in anticipation of violent protests.
“We continue to be in close contact with our partners at the local level to ensure the state provides support and resources to help keep the Kenosha community and greater area safe,” said Gov. Evers. “The Kenosha community has been strong, resilient, and has come together through incredibly difficult times these past two years, and that healing is still ongoing. I urge folks who are otherwise not from the area to please respect the community by reconsidering any plans to travel there and encourage those who might choose to assemble and exercise their First Amendment rights to do so safely and peacefully.”