A state judge granted an injunction on Wednesday prohibiting disruptive protests near school campuses after anti-mask demonstrations in a high school in the Washington city of Vancouver resulted in a lockdown.
According to a statement from the Vancouver School District, 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, granted by a judge in the Clark County Superior Court, is effective as long as state-issued mask mandates are in place.
The injunction follows protests outside one of the district’s schools, Skyview High School. Groups including some members of the far-right Proud Boys gathered there twice this month to protest the state’s mask mandate for schools.
After the second protest, during which demonstrators left the sidewalk and came onto the campus, the school went into lockdown on Sept. 3, the district’s statement said. The neighboring Alki Middle School and Chinook Elementary School also locked down as a precaution. More protests had been scheduled for this week.
“Our district understands and supports free speech and the right for people to be involved in peaceful protests,” the superintendent of the Vancouver district, Jeff Snell, said in a statement. “However, our first priority is to ensure student and staff safety and an educational environment free of disruption. This responsibility prompted us to present our concerns to the court.”
As of Wednesday, the seven-day average of new cases across Washington State was 3,431 a day, a slight increase over the last two weeks, according to a New York Times database. Hospitalizations have risen 3 percent over the same time period, to a daily average of 1,598. Approximately 61 percent of the state’s population is fully vaccinated.