Gathering in front of Skyview High School came three days after Clark County Superior Court Judge Suzan Clark granted a Vancouver School District request for an injunction against protests near its schools
About 30 protestors showed up at Skyview High School Friday afternoon in defiance of a Clark County Superior Court judge’s decision earlier this week to grant the Vancouver School District’s request for an injunction near area schools. In addition to the protestors, a handful of counter protestors also showed up to express support for the school district and the injunction.
On Tuesday, Judge Suzan Clark granted an injunction prohibiting disruptive protests near school campuses. The injunction requires that “protests, rallies, gatherings on or near school premises that disrupt educational services, immediately cease and desist and not be allowed to convene on or within a one-mile radius of any Vancouver School District building or grounds.” The injunction is effective as long as state-issued mask mandates are in effect.
On Thursday night, a group of area residents announced to area media outlets that they would defy the judge’s ruling and hold the protest Friday afternoon on the public sidewalk outside Skyview.
“The Vancouver School District got Inslee appointed Judge Suzan Clark to sign an injunction saying protesters can not be within one mile of the school as long as mask mandates are in place,’’ read the statement announcing the protest. “This directly violates the federal and state constitution.
“Judge Suzan Clark should step down from her position,’’ the statement continued. “She is a threat to the people of this county and we truly question how she is able to justly run a courtroom since she has no concept whatsoever of the rights of the people or the laws of this land. Every case she has ever handled should be looked at for bias and abuse of power.’’
When contacted earlier in the day Friday by Clark County Today, a Vancouver School District spokesperson stated in an email that “Skyview will operate on a regular schedule today. We’ll continue to have extra DRO security onsite as well as ongoing communication and coordination with local law enforcement.’’
The district also sent a letter via email to families of students at Skyview High School and nearby Alki Middle School and Chinook Elementary School.
The protest, which organizers referred to as a “civil disobedience,’’ appeared to be mostly peaceful. Counter protestors were viewed as being confrontational at times with protestors. There was a strong visual presence of school security officers, as well as administrators and district officials.
There was no law enforcement presence at the protest during the time that a Clark County Today reporter was present.
Vancouver School District Superintendent Dr. Jeff Snell made a brief statement.
“We just want to get everybody home safely. That’s our focus,’’ Snell said, referring to students and staff at the schools.
A protestor who identified himself only as John attended the event, holding a sign that read, “Choice not force, stop the mandate.’’
“While I brought this sign and I do believe the mandates are wrong, today my main reason for being here is about the injunction,’’ said John, who said he is from Kelso. “It’s about standing up for the First Amendment. The injunction the judge signed is unconstitutional and is illegal. You can’t tell people where they can and cannot practice the First Amendment.’’
LaDonna Kirkpatrick was in attendance to show her support for the school district and Skyview Principal Andy Meyer.
“These people were harassing, shaming, telling my little three-year-old that I was a child abuser and telling her to take off her mask last week,’’ Kirkpatrick said of the protestors. “We’re here to tell them to take their protest somewhere else and not do it in front of our children and interrupt classes.’’
Kirkpatrick was referring to other protests held in the past week or more held in support of a Skyview student who is seeking a 504 Plan with the school district that will allow her to attend the high school without wearing a mask, which is mandated by the state. A 504 Plan is described as a blueprint or plan for how the school will provide support and remove barriers for a student with a disability.
Clark County Today Editor Ken Vance and reporter Paul Valencia contributed to this report.