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Clark County judge bans protests near Vancouver schools, days after rally put 3 schools in lockdown

Protesters yell at passing cars during an anti-mask demonstration in front of Skyview High School on September 3, 2021in Vancouver, Washington. On Sept. 3, a Clark County judge ordered an end to protests and rallies near Vancouver School District grounds
Protesters yell at passing cars during an anti-mask demonstration in front of Skyview High School on September 3, 2021in Vancouver, Washington. On Sept. 3, a Clark County judge ordered an end to protests and rallies near Vancouver School District grounds

A Clark County judge has ordered an end to protests and rallies near Vancouver School District grounds, days after a Proud Boys-led rally put three schools into lockdown.

Superior Court Judge Suzan Clark ordered, “rallies, protests or gatherings” cannot be held within a mile of school grounds for as long as masks are mandated in schools in the state of Washington.

The order states law enforcement is empowered to “enforce this order should any individual or group of individuals fail to comply.”

“Our district understands and supports free speech and the right for people to be involved in peaceful protests,” Vancouver Schools Superintendent Jeff Snell said in a statement. “However, our first priority is to ensure student and staff safety and an educational environment free of disruption.”

The order landed four days after dozens of anti-mask demonstrators – including members of the far-right group the Proud Boys – led district officials to put Skyview High School, Alki Middle School and Chinook Elementary into lockdown.

According to witnesses, members of the Proud Boys, a far-right group that attracts white supremacists and has engaged in violence, attempted to escort a freshman into the building. The freshman had been seeking a medical exemption to mask requirements, according to her mother, after being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety.

Vancouver Public Schools confirmed that some demonstrators “attempted to come onto Skyview’s campus.” The district locked down the school, and the neighboring schools, as a safety measure.

Videos posted online showed a group of several people wearing black and yellow — colors known to be associated with the Proud Boys — chanting “U-S-A” near the school entrance. Security guards at the school told OPB that some called female students derogatory names as they left the school.

This story will be updated.

Copyright 2021 Oregon Public Broadcasting. To see more, visit Oregon Public Broadcasting.