STILLMAN VALLEY, Ill. (WTVO) — A Stillman Valley mom was arrested Tuesday at a school open house after she reportedly refused to wear a mask over her nose.
Gov. JB Pritzker issued an Executive Order mandating staff and students wear masks indoors on school grounds, regardless of vaccination status, following updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The order is intended to slow the spread of the COVID-19 delta variant.
Rhonda Fager was arrested and charged with Criminal Trespass at Meridian Junior High, at 207 W Main St.
“The principal is like, ‘you need to put your mask on.’ My mask [was] on. ‘Well, you need to pull it up over your nose.’ [I said] no. ‘Well, you need to leave.’ [I said] no,” Fager recalled.
Ogle County Sheriff’s Deputies were summoned to the scene.
“I don’t know what they thought was going to happen,” Fager said. “I don’t know why they needed six cops for a house mom. Like, really? It’s an open house for my kids. What do y’all think is going to happen?”
Facing an outcry from parents and staff in their communities over the forced mask mandate, school districts across the state say they have consulted legal advisors about the liability and litigious hurdles they would face if they defy the Governor’s order.
Meridian School District Superintendent P.J. Caposey wrote a public letter to Gov. Pritzker on Wednesday, saying administrators were facing “untenable and unsustainable pressure” from the community because some districts were choosing not to enforce the mandate.
Fager said she believed her arrest was an extreme reaction.
“Most of the people there were wearing them below their nose or on their chin, but taking them off to talk. I don’t know why I was the lucky winner,” she said. “Instead, they march you right through everyone [with] three more [police] cars coming in, lights and sirens blaring.
“In my opinion, they were doing it to prove a point and show who was really in charge,” she added.
Fager says she’s not against masking, but feels it should be an individual’s choice.
“I even put it on. I didn’t want to, but still, I did it. And it wasn’t on good enough for their liking,” she said.
Fager was then banned from school property. She has a court date on September 3rd.