Wyoming teen suing state officials after arrest for not wearing mask in school: ‘Our rights were taken away’

A Wyoming teen who was arrested for refusing to wear a mask in the classroom is filing suit against the governor, health officials, and others to restore individual rights and raise awareness surrounding what rights students have in schools. 

High school student Grace Smith and her father Andrew Smith appeared on “Fox & Friends First” on Wednesday to discuss why they are pushing back against the policy and what it means to restore their individual liberties. 

WYOMING HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT ON BEING ARRESTED OVER REFUSAL TO WEAR MASK: ‘NEVER THOUGHT’ I’D BE TAKEN TO JAIL

“I think a big goal is also to create awareness for a lot of parents and students to know that they do have rights because obviously the school board and authority figures have not made that very evident and they’ve taken them away,” Grace stated. 

“So I think that it’s really important to us for people to be educated more than anything,” she continued. 

She was arrested last month for refusing to wear a mask at Laramie High School following a slew of other consequences, including suspensions and fines for violating the policy. 

FILE PHOTO: A child wears a face mask on the first day of New York City schools, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Brooklyn, New York, U.S. September 13, 2021. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

FILE PHOTO: A child wears a face mask on the first day of New York City schools, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Brooklyn, New York, U.S. September 13, 2021. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

Grace claims she received a $1,000 fine and three suspensions over the matter, which ultimately resulted in her arrest. 

“The purpose of this fight is is to restore the power to the people,” Andrew explained. “The claim is solely based on the rights of our health care access granted to us by the Wyoming Constitution and the rights of the parents and each and every student.”

School districts across the state have been able to individually decide on the issue of having or not having a mask mandate, since the governor did not implement a statewide order. 

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Grace’s school district issued the mandate in September, which required most students to wear masks on school grounds or face consequences. 

“I just started to notice how terrible the authority figures in my life were being at school, and I didn’t feel like that was okay,” Grace explained. “It’s been super, super encouraging to see how many kids I’ve actually brought along with me.”

The lawsuit names around 20 plaintiffs in the case, and according to Andrew, more are coming forward each day to join the pair in pushing back against the infringement. 

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