- Three schools in Vancouver, Washington went on lockdown when a group of Proud Boys tried to enter the school grounds.
- Members of the far-right group were at the school campus protesting mask requirements for students and teachers.
- The group tried to escort a student seeking a medical exemption to wearing a mask into the building.
Three schools in Washington state went on lockdown on Friday after a crowd of far-right protestors.
Members of Patriot Prayer, a far-right group tied to the Proud Boys, assembled outside of Skyview High School on Friday in Vancouver to protest against face mask requirements. Many wore signature Proud Boys colors, yellow and black, according to Oregon Public Broadcasting. Some students and teachers in favor of masks showed up to counterprotest.
Washington state requires face masks for all staff and students, according to the Department of Health.
Some of the Patriot Prayer protesters at Skyview attempted to escort a student who was seeking a medical exemption for wearing a mask into a building, which prompted intervention from the school’s security guards. According to OPB, the protestors falsely claimed that the student had been threatened with arrest if they entered the school without a mask.
The student’s mother, Megan Gabriel, told OPB that the student could not wear a mask because they were diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety, and wearing a mask could trigger a panic attack. Gabriel added that their requested medical exemption was denied.
Following the confrontation, Skyview High School and schools in close proximity — Alki Middle School and Chinook Elementary — were placed on lockdown, according to KGW8.
“As a safety precaution, Skyview, Alki and Chinook were put into a lockdown on Sept. 3 due to a disturbance by protesters who attempted to come onto Skyview’s campus,” said Patricia Nuzzo, communications director for Vancouver Public Schools, according to KGW8. “This is related to yesterday’s protest against Washington state’s requirement for staff and students to wear masks or face coverings in schools and on buses.”
Nuzzo told OPB that she couldn’t speak about the student’s case for confidentiality reasons but that VPS does provide accommodations for those who qualify by working “with the student’s family to consider all necessary information including documentation from the health provider.”
Kyle Sproul, school board president of VPS, said the lockdown had been implemented for the students’ safety, according to AP News.
“Regardless of one’s stance on mask mandates, I think most parents in our community agree that protesting at our school campuses and disrupting the school day is not in the best interest of students,” Sproul said.
A spokesperson for Vancouver Public Schools did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
A student told OPB that teachers guarded the doors during the lockdown, comparing it to a school shooting drill.
“All the learning gets disrupted. We have to sit down quietly, not make noise, and we were hunkered down in our classrooms for around an hour to an hour-and-a-half,” the student said, adding that some students were harassed by the protestors outside the building.