A high school senior in New York was arrested Thursday after trying to attend in-person classes as an act of protest.
Maverick Stow, a 17-year-old student at William Floyd High School in Long Island, was suspended for five days on Tuesday after he tried to attend classes on a remote learning day in opposition to the school’s hybrid learning model, which alternates students between in-person classes and virtual learning.
Despite his suspension, Maverick said he attended school again on Wednesday and said he was warned he could be arrested if he did it again.
“Your child is hereby warned that on the next occasion he is found illegally on any William Floyd School District property, the police will be notified and he will be prosecuted for third degree criminal trespass,” Assistant Principal Lisa Paschitti wrote in a letter to Maverick’s parents, WABC reported.
The student showed up to school again Thursday morning nd was “immediately” arrested for criminal trespassing by the Suffolk County Police Department, the William Floyd School District said in a statement Thursday.
The district accused Maverick of “flagrantly” breaking the law and showing “irresponsible and selfish behavior with today’s latest publicity stunt.”
“He arrived wearing a neon green shirt — for high visibility — with a contingent of media just outside the fence line trying to capture him getting arrested as he entered the building,” the district claimed.
The district then threatened that “if Mr. Stow continues to try to access school grounds each day that we are open, we will close the high school — and its approximately 3,000 students – to all in-person learning and it will be all virtual for the foreseeable future.”
Before his arrest, Maverick told local media he thought the school had taken things too far.
“I feel strongly that kids should be able to go to school five days a week,” he told NBC New York. “I hope that me facing the consequences for my actions are going to lead to potentially change in the schooling system and a 100% in-person learning solution.”
The school district had said in a statement Wednesday that its hybrid learning model is according to state guidelines during the coronavirus pandemic, even though it agrees with Maverick that students should be in class full-time.
“We cannot have students showing up to school on their non-scheduled in-person days and when requested to leave displaying insubordinate behavior to multiple school officials and refusing to follow their instructions,” the earlier statement read. “When a student is suspended off of school grounds for any reason, we cannot and will not tolerate students trying to gain access to our grounds or buildings. We work extremely hard to ensure the safety of our students and staff.”
The statement claimed that Maverick “continued to display insubordinate behavior” and told a district official they would have to “forcibly remove” him from school grounds.
“As a district we must work to ensure a safe and disruption-free environment for students who are following the rules and showing up to learn,” the district said. “We take school safety seriously and since he has escalated this situation, the police are now involved.”
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