** Media Availability **
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 15, 2022
CONTACT: Tracey Miller, 202-660-1628, Tracey.Miller@theacru.org
Media Availability: Lori Roman, President, ACRU
Maskless Middle School Student Placed in Solitary Confinement Enlists American Constitutional Rights Union to Fight Back
Naples, FL — Young Isabella Koons was placed in solitary confinement every school day for a week after exercising her right to adhere to Virginia Governor Youngkin’s Executive Order Number Two, allowing students to attend school without wearing masks. Loudon County District officials suspended Isabella when she and her parents were not sufficiently intimidated out of exercising their rights, as expressed in Governor Youngkin’s Order. The suspension is for an indefinite period, to be lifted only once Isabella agrees to wear a mask in school. The School District has threatened that if Isabella is found on any property belonging to the Loudoun County School District (i.e., the taxpayers of Loudoun County), she will be arrested and charged criminally with trespassing.
The American Constitutional Rights Union (ACRU) addressed these issues in written correspondence to the School Board and Superintendent but received no response. As a result, ACRU has hired the law firm of Schaerr Jaffe, LLP to represent Isabella Koons and her parents in challenging her suspension and other unlawful, retaliatory action by the School District.
Yesterday, the attorneys filed an amicus curiae brief and a supporting affidavit in the pending case against the Loudoun County School District. The governor has intervened as a party. Affidavits from supporting parents document a pattern of behavior by Loudon County School administrators ranging from discriminatory to abusive as children were placed in solitary situations and denied access to equal education and even water. A preliminary injunction hearing in this matter is presently scheduled for Wednesday, February 16, 2022.
The Loudoun County School District suspended 29 of its students on February 2, 2022, for exercising their right to decline to wear a face covering in school. The father of eighth-grader Isabella Koons of Willard Middle School states: “The suspension notice also includes the stunning and offensive warning that Isabella’s mother and I have a legal duty to “improv[e]” our daughter’s behavior. ‘State law requires that each parent/guardian of a public school student assist the school in improving the student’s behavior ….’. My message to the Loudoun County School Board and the Principal of Willard Middle School is this: Isabella Koons’ behavior needs no improvement. I could not be prouder of my daughter’s principled and faith-based decision to stand up for her rights as a student and as a Virginian despite the severe cost to her. I am truly in awe of her bravery.”
Regarding the issue of school-imposed mask mandates, Governor Youngkin’s Executive Order could not be more precise. According to Section 2, “The parents of any child enrolled in an elementary or secondary school or a school-based early childcare, and educational program may elect for their children not to be subject to any mask mandate in effect at the child’s school or educational program.”
American Constitutional Rights Union is a non-partisan, non-profit public policy organization dedicated to defending all Americans’ constitutionally protected civil rights.