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Virginia mother threatened to ‘bring every single gun loaded and ready’ to school over mask rules

Amelia King at a Page County School Board meeting Thursday night.Page County Public Schools Youtube

A Virginia mother who sparked an uproar after she threatened during a school board meeting to “bring every single gun loaded and ready” to school if her children were compelled to wear masks has been charged for making an oral threat while on school property.

At the crux of the debate during the Page County School Board meeting Thursday night was whether members would vote to keep mandating masks in schools in the wake of newly sworn-in Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin signing an executive order declaring that masking is optional in schools statewide.

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The order on the hotly contested issue is set to go into effect Monday.

When Amelia King took to the podium, she shared with the board before her that she typically prepares a written statement when she attends the meetings because she prefers to “sound educated,” and then followed up with the warning that “when I go off the cuff I get really passionate.”

After a board member cut King off when she ran over the allotted three-minute speaking time, she concluded her heated speech with a vow to “bring every single gun loaded” if the district did not vote to allow for parents to have a choice over whether their children wore masks.

“No mask mandates,” said King, who hails from a rural county that, according to a local report, recorded its highest daily count of new coronavirus cases last week. “My children will not come to school on Monday with masks.”

“All right, that’s not happening. And I will bring every single gun loaded and ready to, I will call every —” King continued before being informed her time was up again. “I’ll see y’all on Monday.”

She followed up with an e-mailed apology soon after making the statements, which a board member read aloud. King wrote that she was “not a dangerous person” and that she did not mean to imply that she would “show up with actual firearms.”

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The board ended up voting in favor of masks being optional.

But the video of King quickly circulated across social media, sparking a firestorm over her alarming remarks and the issues of gun safety and coronavirus protocols.

School officials later said they were in contact with authorities, prompting an investigation to be launched into the incident. Federal and state officials, including the commonwealth’s attorney, were also notified.

“Not only do comments such as these go against everything we wish to model for our students, they go against the very nature of how we as a community should interact with each other,” Page County Public Schools Superintendent Antonia M. Fox and School Board Chair Megan Gordon wrote in a joint statement Friday morning. “Violence and threats are never acceptable or appropriate.”

The statement also said that there will be an increased police presence at schools in Luray, Va., Monday following the event. The Luray Police Department announced Friday night that King had been charged with making an oral threat on school property and that the magistrate had released her on a $5,000 unsecured bond.

It was not the only episode highlighting outrage and triggering fears of violence over mask mandates this month.

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Earlier this month, a passenger from Ireland aboard a Delta Air Lines flight from Dublin to New York “terrorized everyone aboard throughout the trip,” the Washington Post reported Friday.

The 29-year-old Galway man “threw tantrums and stubbornly went maskless” despite being asked to put one on repeatedly, and also mooned people, threw a drink at one passenger, and kicked the seat of the person in front of him, the Post reported. He has since been charged with assaulting and intimidating a member of the crew — one of several — who attempted to get him under control.


Shannon Larson can be reached at shannon.larson@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @shannonlarson98.