Wyoming high school student arrested for trespassing after refusing to comply with mask mandate

A Wyoming high school student has decided to defend her constitutional rights, and her high school is not making it easy for her.

Grace Smith, 16, was arrested on the grounds of Laramie High School Thursday after members of the administration said she was trespassing while suspended for refusing to wear a mask at the school.

Smith has been suspended three separate times for two days each for her refusal to mask up, and she has received $1000 in fines for refusing to leave school property twice after being suspended.

She said she has the right to continue her education, and the constitutional right under Wyoming’s state constitution to make her own healthcare decisions, including whether to wear a mask.

A matter of choice

If people choose to wear masks, that is their right, she said. And if she chooses not to, that is also her right.

Smith’s parents support her decision to refuse to wear a mask, but said they did not influence her to do so.

She and her father Andy Smith gave an interview to Republican state Senator Anthony Bouchard about the situation, which he posted on Twitter.

The backlash

Smith said she was a “straight-A student” who has “never broken the law.” “I would never choose to do anything wrong and I never saw myself sitting in the back of a cop car, handcuffed,” Smith said.

If she is expelled from the school, which can happen after 10 days of suspension, she said she will lose the lead in the school play and spot on the dance team.

“It’s because I’m growing up in a country where I’m supposed to have my God-given rights to protect, and they’re being taken away,” she said when asked why she was defying the mask mandate.

Smith also said she has experienced bullying since she organized a protest earlier in September against the mask mandate. “I get cussed out a lot,” she said. “People have called me mean names. Nobody has physically harmed me, but some of my best friends now won’t talk to me.”

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