Three Tucson men charged for trespassing after allegedly threatening a principal who enforced COVID precautions

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Three Tucson area men have been charged with trespassing after allegedly threatening to conduct a citizens’ arrest against the principal of Mesquite Elementary School in the town of Vail. The incident occurred after a student was told to quarantine due to possible COVID exposure. We talked about what happened with Vail Unified School District Superintendent, John Carruth.

What started this alleged threat?

“In response to required quarantine from the Pima County health department, a parent became very upset that their student was not going to be able to participate that day. They were deemed to be a close contact with another individual in that class who was COVID positive and needed to be quarantined per Pima County health guidelines,” Carruth said.

The parent later posted to a local coffee shop owner’s website and “pleaded with him to come help, stating that he was willing to go to jail over this,” Carruth said.

The parent arrived at the school with his son and two other men showed up shortly after. They came into the principal’s office where the father, the principal and the assistant principal were meeting. One of the men was carrying “heavy-duty, law-enforcement-like zip ties with a statement that ‘if the student wasn’t allowed to resume regular school activities, they were going to make a citizen’s arrest,” Carruth said.

What was said to the principal?

“They were generally upset. They felt that their quarantines were not legal to enforce those. Although we are under a direct order from the health department to enforce those quarantines when they deem it necessary,” Carruth said.

The principal remained calm throughout the confrontation and later stepped out of her office to call the school district who later called the police department to report the incident.

The incident was contained and learning continued due to “swift actions by the principal.” The whole confrontation lasted about 25-30 minutes.

All three men have been charged with trespassing.

John Carruth, Superintendent, Vail Unified School District

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