Luray parent charged after ‘threatening’ statement at school board meeting

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Amelia Ruffner King
Amelia Ruffner King addresses the Page County School Board on Jan. 20.

By Randy Arrington

LURAY, Jan. 21 — Just over 24 hours after telling the Page County School Board that she was going to “bring every single gun loaded and ready” if her children had to continue wearing masks in school, a parent has now been charged for making threatening statements on school property.

Around 6 p.m. on Friday, Amelia Ruffner King, 42, of Luray, was charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor under 18.2-60 of the Virginia State Code for “threats of death or bodily injury to a person or member of his family; threats to commit serious bodily harm to persons on school property,” according to a post on the Luray Police Department Facebook page.

More specifically, King was charged under Subsection B of that code which includes “any person who orally makes a threat to any employee of any elementary, middle or secondary school, while on a school bus, on school property or at a school-sponsored activity, to kill or do bodily injury to such person…”

King was released on Friday evening by the magistrate on a $5,000 unsecured bond.

As one of four speakers to address the school board during Thursday night’s special meeting on “health and mitigation strategies,” King applauded Governor Glenn Youngkin’s Executive Order #02, which goes into effect on Monday. The order strips away a previous mandate for masking in Virginia’s public schools and puts the decision back in the hands of parents.

While the Page County School Board agreed and voted, 4-2, to immediately shift from universal masking used throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to a “parent choice” option, King spoke before the vote and insinuated that she would stand for nothing less.

“No mask mandates. My children will not come to school on Monday with a mask on, alright. That’s not happening. And I will bring every single gun loaded and ready,” King continued as she was cut-off a second time by the chairman for exceeding the three-minute time limit during citizen comment period.

Then as she left the room, King stated: “I’ll see ya’ll on Monday.”

On Thursday night, KIng noted how her last appearance before the school board ended with a deputy calling for back-up to make an arrest when she refused to quit speaking after her three-minute time limit had expired and she was repeatedly told to stop by the chairman.

Before Thursday night’s meeting was over, King emailed both the Page County School Board and the Page County Sheriff’s Office to explain her comments and “apologize for the way I phrased the statement.” Dr. Amy Painter, school board representative from District 3, read a message to the school board that she received from King during the meeting.

“I in no way want to imply ‘all guns loaded’ as in actual firearms, but rather all resources I can muster to make sure my kids get to attend school without masks. My sincere apologies for my poor choice in words,” read Dr. Painter before continuing to a second reply she received from King. “I’m absolutely mortified. I would never do such a thing. I was only speaking figuratively, as in alerting the media and creating a social media stir.”

The event has gone viral on the internet and has included coverage from most major news networks and some international media. The livestream of the Jan. 20 school board meeting had nearly 400 live viewers — but as of 10 p.m. on Friday, the meeting had been viewed nearly 24,000 times.

King works as a dental hygienist at Ruffner Family Dentistry in Luray. Her husband previously owned a gun shop called Tactical Speed in the East Luray Shopping Center, which closed about a year ago. Photos of King and her family holding assault rifles have been shared across social media thousands of times over the last 24 hours.

The school system took King’s words seriously and requested more security at all county schools earlier today and for Monday. School Board Chair Megan Gordon and Superintendent Antonia Fox issued a letter to the community this morning.

“Last night at our School Board meeting during the Citizen Comment period there were comments made that referenced weapons and were perceived by many to be threatening in nature. Page County Public Schools does not take these kind of statements lightly,” reads a statement released Friday morning. “Not only do comments such as these go against everything that we wish to model for our students, they go against the very nature of how we as a community should interact with each other. Violence or threats are never acceptable or appropriate. This kind of behavior is not tolerated from our students, faculty, staff, nor will it be tolerated by parents or guests of our school division.”

While “opt-out forms” will soon be distributed to Page County students, staff members will still be required to wear masks while inside all school buildings under the Virginia Department of Labor’s mandate to follow CDC guidelines — which calls for masking in indoor settings. Students will also still be required to wear masks while riding the bus under mandates regarding public transportation.

For the latest COVID information and updates related to Page County Public Schools, check out their website.

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29 Comments

  1. Not enough was done. These words have meaning,especially in times we are in now. I’m sure she didn’t get enough because I’m sure the police know her and her family so I don’t believe she got charged if she was just a ” somebody.” Nothing she said as an excuse is sufficient. If it was somebody else they would have threw the books at her.

    • Has zero to do with being a Trump supporter. Don’t get on here and be ignorant. But wait your a Biden supporter so I understand now you can’t be anything but ignorant. Must be hard walking through life as a moron. Prayers for you!!!

      • Interesting that you ask someone not to be ignorant and then follow it up with completely ignorant statement about who they may have voted for. Well done.

      • Lets apply a little bit of common sense. Amelia Ruffner King made a threat. A very serious threat. If you or I or pretty much anyone made that same threat we would have immediately been arrested and locked up. Why she was released on a minimal bail is a mystery to me and lots of other people. This issue has nothing to do with being a Biden supporter a Trump supporter or a supporter of neither. It has to do with a lack of common sense, lack of concern for your fellow citizens and being a very selfish and unintelligent person.

  2. She threatened to come to her kids school fully armed – she’s a threat to the community and should be in jail until her trial.

  3. Sounds like it is a safe bet that no one in the dental practice wears a mask, gloves, washes their hands or cleans and sterilizes instruments between patients either. I mean, she is the owner’s daughter and licensed hygienist, it’s not like they’re going to fire her narrow white behind.

    What’s their policy if your insurance doesn’t cover the bill in full? Do they whip out their guns to demand payment?

  4. The democrats have made such a mess out of covid and the schools, no wonder parents feel in survival mode.
    Maxine Waters threatened to kill the President of the United States and nothing happened. She must know somebody.

    • It’s the virus that has made a mess out of life. It’s meant a lot of hard choices for everybody, no matter what choices you ultimately made. Politics is just mirroring a confused society. A little more concern for our fellow citizens and a little less selfishness would improve life a great deal.

    • BS. The mess is on the GOP. And now we have GA rolling back all vaccine mandates because of idiots who support Don The Con. All in the name of “my freedoms” Learn history vaccine mandates have been around since 1868. And Ms. Kinf deserves nothing but jail. She came to a SCHOOL BOARD MEETING AND THREATENED TO COME BACK WHEN KIDS WERE THERE. Who supports this? She had written notes. Her apology is unaccepted. Jail. Why anyone would go to a Dentist that does not believe in science is beyond me. How stupid can one be? This is on Ms King and no one else. Lock her up.

    • Ok Robert…do you have kids or know anyone who does? Do you read the news how many kids have died from crazy people with guns? SO Let’s keep all the teachers & kids SAFE & stop the blame game. No matter what opinion we have on mask wearing.
      Thank you!
      There is zero excuse for this woman’s words at a school board meeting…that she will bring “every single gun loaded” to a school on Monday.
      Those are the words of some mentally ill (entitled) domestic terrorist….she needs serious therapy under strict supervision.
      Who cares if she is left, center, ot far right?! That is irrelevant.

  5. She’s mentally unhinged and needs to be in custody. How many more children have to die? And if, as she claims, she just “got passionate,” well, can’t the same thing be said for shooters everywhere? Another example of Trumpers inciting violence and hatred wherever they go. The police should be removing any guns from her possession right now, for the safety of the children within her sight, I mean, sites.

  6. “Constance” , calm down. Drink some decaf. There is such a thing as being so “over the top” that you feel everyone will get it and understand. You know. Like when Biden said he was going to get covid under control. Everybody knew it was BS.

  7. Question please will the children wear their mask on bus? I guess that they are drove to school and probably picked up. I know a few teachers and students of Page High. I think saying anything about bringing all your loaded guns to school is very concerning. At the VERY least all weapons should be removed from her house. Now I don’t think this will happen because I have heard other people say the government as I guess includes law enforcement officers it would be dangerous to try and remove them. Anyone else making such a threat even in the heat and passion of the moment should never be overlooked. They are called crimes of passion for a reason. How many shooters have just snapped in the heat of the moment. How many thought they were trying to make a statement?
    It’s all scary. Page county already had one lock down or shelter in place that scared students and teachers. I am convinced that most people that do spead Covid and all its varieties are mostly one party. That should be a question on hospital forms the party you most identify with. I think that data would be very interesting. Unfortunately no amount of data,CDC,science, doctors, nurses,and people way more intelligent than I am. I today at Wal-Mart saw and heard a woman cough and blow her nose and touch all kinds of produce. I guess if she was sick we will have another 100 cases in one day. It all just makes you wonder how long this virus will keep killing people,making people have long Covid.

    • Hi Jean, Page County children and bus drivers are required to continue to wear masks on busses. All faculty and staff are also required to continue to wear masks in school buildings. I am pretty sure Jean, that tgere are some children voluntarily stopping at tge office to get a free mask no questions asked or if tgey came by bus who continue to wear that mask in school. As far as disease spread by party, I am a Democrat and I have been exposed to COVID several times. The politics of the people who were infected and I was exposed to was 50/50 to my knowledge. Omicron is so contagious that it hardly matters whether you are vaccinated or not or wearing a mask or not (especially a cloth mask, researchers say). “Viral Load” or the number of virus particles you breathe in is a factor too which is why more than 15 minutes of exposure to an infected person (breathing the same air) can lead to a worse infection. A larger initial number of virus entering your body is a larger burden to the human immune system all at one time. It seems as if in addition to the political “Refusenicks”, a large number of the unvaccinated or partially vaccinated people have religious exemptions or had trouble with side effects after 1 dose of the vaccine. Public Health is a mix of health measures and public policy. Thank goodness 50+ years ago political and health leaders of the final 2 nations Pakistan and Nigeria which harbored smallpox infected populations cooperated with the final vaccination push for Smallpox in the late 1960’s. There was also a total travel ban from these 2 countries during the funal months of eradication. Therefore this month we can say that Virginia rates lower than third world countries 50 years ago in their COVID-19 policy today. Many decisions in governance need to be top down, not made by families. There were no exceptions to Civil Defense blackouts in WWII. Why? Public safety was important to enforce universally so carelessness was stamped out household to household and person to person. Public Health inspectors also used to go from house to house and farm to farm eradicating careless farming and household habits that caused mosquitos and flies to prosper and carry diseases. There was nothing political in that enforcement of disease Control for the public good in those days. My brother is a Republican and got COVID very early on. He almost died. He is a believer in vaccinations now– he tells me he is vaxxed and boosted.

  8. This is why I quit teaching in Virginia. Your Trumpster Youth children aren’t worth it. Why should I waste my time trying to educate the children of the ignorant.

  9. The point really is covid is still in high enough numbers that masks should still be in place especially for our children. Politics shouldn’t play in it at all because it’s killing people of both affiliations. Whether Trump or Biden would be president now it would still be bad because we’ve decided as a people that we know better than doctors and experts and somehow it is someone else telling us what to do. It’s got to be something in place to control it and we the people as a whole are not adult enough to just simply see it as the danger it is , we really want it gone we’re gonna have to do all we can to get control of it until necessary. That’s just the way it’s going. But I can tell you now that because people have made it political it will never go away regardless of who’s in the white house. All the political people’s children go to schools where they are requiring masking and regular testing. So think about that.

  10. None of this matters. This woman no matter what side she was on should not have come to a school board meeting with a written note saying she’s coming back with guns while students are in school and she’s coming in blazing. No one on either side should support this pos. Who in their right mind thinks problems are solved this way? Her children should be removed from her home. This was premeditated she read her words. Jail and her appology BS.

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