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Father of Vail student arrested after refusing to leave school over quarantine objection
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Father of Vail student arrested after refusing to leave school over quarantine objection

A father in the Vail School District was arrested on suspicion of trespassing after arriving at his son’s school to insist the student, who had been exposed to COVID-19, be allowed in class and refusing to leave.

Rishi Rambaran’s son, a student at Mesquite Elementary School, was one of several students whom the county Health Department had told to quarantine due to being a close contact with someone who tested positive for the virus in the school. COVID-19 transmission in Pima County is high, and there have been 1,413 cases in schools since July 20, 54 outbreaks and more than 4,000 people told to quarantine for an exposure.

Rambaran, his son and two other men who don’t have children in the district livestreamed their time at the school. They began the video outside the school where they showed one of the men was holding zip ties and said they were going to tell the principal she was breaking the law, call the sheriff and “if necessary do a citizen’s arrest.”

Principal Diane Vargo brought the men into her office and quietly listened to them tell her that she was breaking the law for following quarantine protocols set by local and state health departments. One of the men held the zip ties in his hands while they spoke to her.

“I came here to tell you that this is not going to happen,” Rambaran told the principal. “My son is not going to be sent home. He is not going to be quarantined. My son will go back to class.”

Vargo eventually asked the men to leave. When they refused, the school called the police.

The men stayed in the office for a while and continued to livestream but left before police arrived.

Police later arrested Rambaran on a trespassing charge, a misdemeanor. Police haven’t arrested anyone else yet but said the investigation is ongoing.

Last month, in a similar incident, a student and two parents were arrested on trespassing charges after they and five other adults refused to leave Walden Grove High School, in the Sahuarita School District, after arriving at the school to protest the student being told to quarantine after a COVID-19 exposure.

The Inside Out Project, created by French-artist JR, made a stop at Jácome Plaza in Tucson on September 1, 2021 as part of the 11 Million Tour. The 11M tour is bringing awareness to the eleven million undocumented people living in the United States, in partnership with the Emerson Collective, a social impact organization. People got their photo taken, printed out and then wheat-pasted on the plaza as a temporary art installation. Video by: Mamta Popat / Arizona Daily Star

Contact reporter Danyelle Khmara at dkhmara@tucson.com or 573-4223. On Twitter: @DanyelleKhmara


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