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Virginia Parent’s “Guns” Comment at Board Meeting Elicits Police Involvement

January 23, 2022

If you plan to speak your mind at a school board meeting and you know that speaking off of the top of your head is a poor decision for you, don’t ignore your own wisdom. (And maybe don’t publicize pictures of yourself sporting hefty firearms.)

If your time is limited, speak efficiently, on point– and without language that consitutes a Class 1 misemeanor.

On Thursday, January 20, 2022, the Page County (Virginia) School Board held a meeting to consider mitigation strategies for its schools in the wake of COVID-19. Up for consideration was whether to make student mask-wearing mandatory or not. In the end, the board voted to make mask wearing voluntary.

During the public comment period, parent Amelia King made her postition against mandatory masking eventually clear, ending her ramble with an omnious “See you Monday” after saying she would show up with “guns loaded” if the board voted in favor of mandated masking.

I have transcribed in their entirety King’s words at the Page County Schools January 20, 2022, board meeting. To give readers a sense of how King used her three minutes, I have included time markers in my transcription. I also include other identifiers for people and places and added a couple of links to provide context.

King: “First I want to say that I typically come to these meetings with a written statement. I like to sound educated, and, when I go off the cuff, I get really passionate, and, um, I’m not always able to say exactly what I want to say in the appropriate way. Um, the last time I was here, I did come with a prepared statement, and I did go over my three minutes. There were several people here, Breeden (clerk) and Painter (board member), who, um, had a fit, cut the microphone off, and, what the general public doesn’t know is that [motioning to audience] sweet Mr. Cave came up and keyed the microphone, requesting backup for arrest because I continued to speak past, uh, my time allotment. Um, working in the dental field, if somebody has a problem, [One minute has passed.] I don’t just cut ’em off at fifteen minutes and say, ‘Oh, I’m sorry. We didn’t get that problem addressed, but, if you make another appointment, we’ll see you again in a couple weeks, okay?’ So, I think, what I’ve asked for before is transparency. I’m not sure why it is that you can’t give me the time with a prepared statement so I’m not rambling on and wasting your time, but I decided to come without that prepared statement today. Um, interestingly enough, we went along with um, the last governor’s mandate, the executive order seemed to be awesome, just applauded by everyone here on the board, um, and that is the path that we took. Obviously, people got riled up, [Two minutes have passed.] um, because Northam (previous governor) refused to acknowledge parents’ rights. Hello? Uh, and, maybe something to do with the Loudoun County rape that was covered up because they were concerned, you know, they were not concerned about boys using the girls’ bathroom. Um, however, I, I still will fight for transparency. I still think that you need to honor the wishes of parents. And, as I emailed on Tuesday, um, we need to think as, as a collective county, we don’t need to worry about what Richmond (state capital) has to say. Um, and, and there’s a lot of science, there’s a lot of good science. [Three minutes have passed.] You know, the mask protects the person that’s wearing it…”

Board member: “That’s three minutes.”

King: “Uh, hm. Alright. No mask mandates. My child, my children will not come to school Monday with a mask on, alright? That’s not happening. And I will bring every single gun loaded and ready to…, I will call every…”

Board member: “Ma’am, that’s three minutes. You’ve gone past your time. It’s a policy. Thank you.”

King: “Uh hm. [Takes paper from podium.] I’ll see y’all on Monday. [Walks away.]

Cut to Friday, January 21, 2022, as published by WHSV.com:

The Luray Police Department charged a woman who made a perceived threat at Thursday night’s Page County School Board meeting.

According to police, Amelia King, 42, was charged with a violation of the Code of Virginia 18.2-60 Oral Threat While on School Property.

Throughout the day on Friday Luray Police worked with the Page County Sheriff’s Office to investigate the incident and contacted both national and state agencies to determine how to best move forward.

Luray Police Chief C.S. “Bow” Cook says that after consulting with state police and thoroughly reviewing the Virginia Code the department determined that charging King with a misdemeanor violation of Virginia Code 18.2-60 was the appropriate course of action. …

King later sent an apology to the school board that was read aloud at the end of Thursday night’s meeting.

Local law enforcement stepped up its presence at schools within the county on Friday. There will again be an increased presence on Monday.

In a statement on Thursday before King was charged, Page County superintendent Dr. Antonia Fox said in part, “Not only comments such as these go against everything we wish to model for our students, they go against the very nature of how as a community should interact with each other. Violence and threats are never acceptable and appropriate.” …

According to police, the magistrate has released Mrs. King on a $5,000.00 unsecured bond.

And from the January 21, 2022, NBC News:

King was arrested Friday and was later released on $5,000 bond, according to Luray police.

She did not respond to a message left Friday on a phone number listed under her name. But later in Thursday’s meeting she emailed an apology to a board member saying that she was “only speaking figuratively.”

“I in no way meant to imply ‘all guns loaded’ as in actual firearms, but rather all resources I can muster to make sure that my children get to attend school without masks,” the email said, according to a school board member who read the note aloud. “My sincere apologies for my poor choice in words.”

Bo Cook, chief of the Luray Police Department, said King contacted law enforcement to apologize as well. But her comments “absolutely caused public alarm,” he said, adding that other local authorities were also investigating the incident.

Below is the full statement released by Page County (Virginia) Division Superintendent Antonia Fox and Board Chair Megan Gordon:

January 21, 2022

Good morning Page County faculty, staff, students, parents, and community,

Last night at our School Board meeting during the Citizen Comment period there were commets made that referenced weapons and were perceived by many to be threatening in nature. Page County Public Schools does not take these kinds of statements lightly.

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. Violence and threats are never acceptable or appropriate. This kind of behavior is not tolerated from our students, faculty, staff, nor will it be tolerated by parents or guests of our school division.

PCPS is addressing this issue and is in communication with local law enforcement. At each PCPS school today and Monday, there will be an increased police presence with support from the Page County Sheriff’s Office. The Luray Police Department will also provide additional police presence at the Luray area schools on Monday. Luray Police Chief Bo Cook is investigating the incident and is in communication with the Commonwealth’s Attorney, as well as state and federal officials.

Page County Public Schools remains committed to a safe and secure learning environment for students and staff.

Sincerely,

Antonia M. Fox, Ed.D., Division Superintendent

Mrs. Megan Gordon, Board Chair

Words matter.

Of course, Bonnie-and-Clyde-styled pictures like the one below only complicate an after-the-fact, clean-up attempt:

Emry King is Amelia King’s husband. His Facebook account has apparently been recently removed from public view. Given that Amelia King is now trying to distance herself from guns, masking public exhibition of that photo demostrates some sound parental choice.

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3 Comments
  1. speduktr permalink

    I find it hard to wrap my mind around someone thinking that threats of violence and intimidation are an appropriate way to conduct oneself ANYWHERE!

  2. Jen S. permalink

    She doesn’t want to ramble… and yet she rambles. Kinda reminds me of the previous resident of the White House.

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