Teen Who Was Suspended Over Mask Mandate Arrested on Trespassing Charges

A Wyoming high-school student was arrested and led away from her school in handcuffs on Thursday, Oct. 7. Grace Smith, a 16-year-old junior at Laramie High School in Laramie, Wyo., said in an interview that she was arrested for trespassing. She had previously received a suspension for refusing to follow the school’s mask mandate, and the incident occurred when she refused to leave school grounds.

The teenager recorded video of police placing her in handcuffs, which her father posted to social media. The video shows polite, pleasant interactions between Smith and the officers.

Smith says that she has been suspended three times (for two days each) over the mask issue and has racked up $1,000 in trespassing fines for refusing to leave campus afterward. Smith told media that she has the right to be at school and continue her education.

“When asked if they’re arresting her for [not wearing] her mask, they’ll say, ‘No, we’re arresting her for her violation of failure to comply in accordance with their trespassing ordinance,’” said the girl’s father, Andy Smith.

Fox News quotes the teen as calling herself a “straight-A student” who has “never broken the law.”

“I would never choose to do anything wrong, and I never saw myself sitting in the back of a cop car, handcuffed,” she said.

The school was placed on a brief lockdown following Smith’s arrest to “prevent further interruptions to academic learning,” according to a school statement. The district declined to provide information on how many students have been suspended for refusing to wear masks, saying that it doesn’t comment on matters of student discipline.

“It’s because I’m growing up in a country where I’m supposed to have my God-given rights to protect, and they’re being taken away,” she said in an interview with the local paper. “Everybody has the freedom to wear a mask if they choose, but I believe everybody also has the right to not wear a mask if they choose.”

About the Author

Matt Jones is senior editor of Spaces4Learning and Campus Security and Life Safety. He can be reached at [email protected]