Tucson father convicted in clash over school COVID-19 mandates

A Tucson man who showed up at an elementary school with zip ties and threatened to arrest the principal over COVID-19 quarantine measures has been convicted of several misdemeanor offenses.

The Arizona Daily Star reports that Kelly Walker was found guilty Wednesday in Tucson City Court of two charges of disrupting an educational institution.

He was also found guilty of intentionally or knowingly remaining on property of an educational instruction so as to interfere with its lawful use, refusing to obey lawful order to leave educational property and disorderly conduct.

Walker will be sentenced Nov. 17.

In September 2021, cellphone video showed Walker and two other men in the doorway of an office at Mesquite Elementary School. They stated they would make a "citizen’s arrest" of the principal. Walker was upset that a child of another parent would have to isolate and miss a school field trip because of possible exposure to someone with COVID-19.


Principal Diane Vargo called police. Authorities later arrested Walker.

Walker had posted about his plan on social media to confront the school despite not having a child enrolled there.

Shortly after the incident, the principal released a video statement through the Vail Unified School District. Vargo described how they had "military, large, black zip ties" and that she tried to de-escalate things first.

At the time, the incident was one of multiple confrontations nationwide between parents and school administrators over pandemic mandates such as masks and quarantining.

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