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Judge orders end to 'disruptive' anti-mask protests outside schools in Vancouver

An anti-mask protest outside Skyview High School triggered a precautionary lockdown at three schools on Sept. 3, and more protests were planned for this week.

VANCOUVER, Wash. — A judge ordered anti-mask protesters to stop demonstrating near Vancouver, Wash. schools following protests outside Skyview High School, one of which triggered a precautionary lockdown at three schools, the Vancouver School District said. 

On Tuesday, Clark County Superior Court Judge Suzan Clark granted an injunction prohibiting "disruptive protests" near school campuses, the district said in a news release. 

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 school district said in a news release.

RELATED: SW Washington students return for first day of classes masked up and ready for in-person learning

The injunction will remain in place as long as state-issued mask mandates are in effect.  

The district said on Sept. 2 and Sept. 3, community groups protested outside Skyview High School against state's mandate requiring masks in schools. 

During the Sept. 3 protest, demonstrators walked off public sidewalks and onto the Skyview campus, prompting the high school and neighboring Alki Middle School and Chinook Elementary to go on lockdown as a precaution. The incident made national headlines

There were more anti-mask protests scheduled for Sept. 7, 8 and 9. 

RELATED: Anti-mask protest puts 3 Vancouver schools in lockdown

"To mitigate the spread of COVID-19, Washington state has mandated that all students and staff members wear masks or other appropriate facial coverings in schools and on school buses," the district said. "This state requirement was a legally binding decision by the governor and cannot be overturned by local districts."

District Superintendent Jeff Snell expressed gratitude for the injunction, which comes at a time when students, staff and families are facing many challenges because of the pandemic. 

"You try and look at everything with a broad perspective of safety, and you present the information," said Snell. "And when you have a judge that says, 'yes I agree this is a concern,' that is validating to the work that we’ve done."

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