An Arizona father threatened his son’s elementary school principal with a citizen’s arrest while wielding zip ties after he received news that his child would be required to quarantine after coming in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.
Vail Unified School District officials told a local NBC News station that the man, who was not named, arrived at Mesquite Elementary School on Thursday morning along with his child and two other men to protest the quarantine policy.
Vail Unified School District Superintendent John Carruth told The Washington Post that the men told principal Diane Vargo that they would call local law enforcement or conduct a citizen’s arrest if the child was not allowed to immediately return to school.
According to state policy, Arizona schools are required to report positive COVID-19 cases to the county health department and the department then determines who needs to quarantine in order to mitigate the spread of the virus.
“Today was a tough day,” Carruth said of the Thursday incident. “One of the most powerful tools as adults is the behavior that we model to young people — and the behavior that was modeled today makes me really sad.”
One of the men who arrived at the school with the dad reportedly live-streamed part of the altercation on Instagram. Zip ties were visible in the video and the man allegedly threatened to use the zip ties on the principal, KVOA reported.
Vargo invited the men to her office for a conversation and listened to their concerns, according to school officials. Following the conversation, she asked them to leave the school grounds, KVOA noted.
The men refused at the time but eventually left before local law enforcement arrived, the news outlet reported.
She was reportedly not harmed in the incident.
Last month, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) announced that the state would refuse to provide federal COVID-19 relief funds to public school districts requiring students to wear masks.
“Parents are in the driver’s seat, and it’s their right to make decisions that best fit the needs of their children,” he said at the time.
The state has reported over 1,020,000 coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.