South Fork High School was placed on a modified lockdown for a time yesterday morning and Humboldt County Sheriff's Office deputies were called to the scene after a group of parents and students protesting state-mandated mask requirements for school settings entered the campus.
There were reports that some protestors tore down masking signs at the school and yelled obscenities at students who were wearing their masks before leaving.
According to a post on Redheaded Blackbelt, organizers said they later apologized to the school's principal, staff and members of the Southern Humboldt Unified School District’s school board, calling the decision to enter the campus a “mistake.”
District and school officials did not immediately return requests for comment on the situation.
While a statewide order on masking indoors was lifted today for fully vaccinated individuals in most cases, the requirement remains in place for certain settings, including hospitals and schools, until at least Feb. 28.
Samantha Karges, spokesperson for the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office, said the office was notified earlier this week that a protest was planned for Tuesday at the Miranda campus and patrols were conducted in the area that morning as students arrived and classes began, at which time a small protest was observed off campus with no laws being broken.
Three deputies returned around 9:20 a.m. after receiving information that approximately 50 to 60 protestors had entered the school’s grounds and were disrupting classes but upon arrival “all individuals participating in the protest had left the school’s campus and were assembled at a nearby business,” she said in an email to the Journal.
The group self-dispersed around 10 a.m, Karges said.
“The sheriff’s office did not receive any reports of property damage as a result of the protest,” she said. “School staff told deputies that some protestors reportedly yelled at students while walking through the school, however, specific suspects were unable to be identified. No further investigation is occurring at this time due to a lack of incriminating evidence.”
Karges said deputies have been patrolling around Southern Humboldt schools this week due to reports of potential protests and the office “continues to prioritize the safety of our youth.”