A Laramie teenager who was arrested last week because she failed to wear a mask in school appeared on "Fox and Friends" with her father to discuss the arrest which has now received global attention.
Grace Smith, 16, who was joined on the interview with her father, Andy, told the Fox News host she would defy the mask mandate again if she went to school, but that isn’t likely because it was no longer a safe environment.
“There have been threats to my family, and there was a threat of a school shooting last week,” she said. “So, I won’t be returning anytime super soon.”
Grace was arrested last Thursday at Laramie High School because she refused to leave after being suspended for not following the mandatory mask policy. The officer told her she was trespassing.
“I believe that every right that you feel is being infringed upon is worth fighting for,” Grace said. “My dad and I have closed off every meeting with a quote of Benjamin Franklin’s, ‘Those who sacrifice a little bit of liberty for a little bit of safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.'”
Grace went into custody willingly and was polite with officers when arrested, videos taken and shared by her father show.
“I’m just so stinking proud of this girl for standing up for herself,” Andy Smith said. “It’s not just her, she’s doing it for the civil liberties of every individual.”
The school district implemented a mask mandate in early September after Albany County and Wyoming’s COVID cases continued to climb, as well as its hospitalizations. Its mask mandate was slated to expire Thursday, unless school officials decide to extend it.
Andy Smith told Cowboy State Politics that initially when the mandate was implemented in September, the school district was going to allow exemption forms, but Superintendent Jubal Yennie ultimately revoked them and only allowed exemptions under eight criteria, none of which Grace met.
“Wyoming’s Grace standing strong for all eyes of this country to see,” Carbon County Republican Party Chairman Joey Correnti IV wrote on social media following the Smiths’ appearance on Fox. “Well done, young lady, your strength and courage is an inspiration to so many across this state and nation!”