A security official for Loudoun County Public Schools in Virginia directed principals to obtain a warrant from a magistrate if students attempted to enter the school without wearing a mask, the latest escalation in the commonwealth’s mask wars.
An email sent by Loudoun County Public Schools Director of Safety and Security John Clark to the district’s principals and viewed by the Washington Examiner shows Clark outlined a series of steps they should take to enforce the district’s mask mandate, including how to obtain a warrant from a magistrate and limiting parental access to school buildings.
The email was sent on Feb. 1 and came as Loudoun elected to defy Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s executive order allowing parents to opt their children out of school mask mandates.
A state judge in Arlington issued a temporary restraining order against Youngkin’s order Friday, which the governor’s office said would be appealed.
Clark told Loudoun’s principals that the Loudoun Police Department and the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office had informed the district that they would not “enforce a suspension letter/no trespass without a trespass summons/warrant being issued from a magistrate.”
“If you determine that an individual should be trespassed then a school admin representative, in conjunction with S&S Coordinator Rich Thomas, will proceed to the magistrate to swear out a trespass summons/warrant,” the email says. “School admin will meet Rich Thomas at the Safety & Security office and then proceed to the magistrate, which is located next to our office.”
Thomas serves as the district’s safety and security coordinator.
If the warrant is obtained, the email says, it “will be served by law enforcement,” a process that could take “up to 24 hours.” Clark also outlined steps schools should take against parents, including restricting visitation access.
“Parents should only be admitted at your discretion,” Clark said, and he recommended schools establish “outdoor parent gathering areas,” bring students to parents picking them up, and restrict used entrances to “help staff control potential incoming adults.”
“While parents have certain educational rights they do NOT have the right to enter your school without proper vetting and permission,” Clark wrote.
Clark’s email came three days before Loudoun Superintendent Scott Ziegler issued a statement attempting to disprove reports that the school district was having students who did not wear masks arrested on charges of trespassing.
“LCPS does not have the authority to arrest or charge any suspended students or their parents for trespassing,” Ziegler said. “Furthermore, LCPS has not requested that local law enforcement charge any student with trespassing in connection with recent suspensions.”
Ziegler said no Loudoun County students had been arrested on charges of trespassing and that “media accounts stating that LCPS is arresting students are not accurate, and create fear and potential harm for our students.”
“Any student who is suspended from school and returns to school property, without administrative permission, may be issued a trespass notice,” Ziegler said. “This is standard practice and a warning that appears on all suspension notices. Again, students suspended for defiance of COVID mitigation protocols will not be charged with trespassing.”
Loudoun County Public Schools and Clark did not respond to requests for comment.