UPDATE: Third man charged in viral incident at Vail elementary school
Vail USD Superintendent said men were carrying zip ties and threatened to make a citizen’s arrest
TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The third of three men involved in a heated dispute at an elementary school in Vail, during which authorities were called to campus, has been cited with a misdemeanor.
According to Tucson police, Frank Tainatongo, 58, was cited and released on a minor trespassing charge on Monday, Sept. 6.
Kelly Walker, 51, was also cited and released on a misdemeanor trespassing charge. Walker is known in the community to be outspoken against vaccines and mask mandates.
Rishi Rambaran, 40, was first arrested previously on a trespassing charge stemming from the incident.
Authorities said they don’t anticipate any more people being charged.
KOLD spoke with the Superintendent of Vail Unified School District and he said it stemmed from rules regarding those who tested positive for COVID-19.
But some parents within the district were not pleased with this, and decided to take matters into their own hands.
Superintendent John Carruth said there is a group of students in a class at Mesquite Elementary School who were in close contact with a person who tested positive for COVID. He said, per the Pima County Health Department, the district’s policy requires those students to be quarantined.
But the father of one of those students claims that the policy is illegal. In a Facebook Live video, that parent and others are seen walking into the principal’s office.
“One of the other individuals, not the parent, brought flex cuffs with them to the front office when they entered the office and their demand was that quarantine was illegal and that if the child was not allowed to resume normal school that they would make a citizen’s arrest,” Carruth said.
Those zip ties are seen in the video, which now appears to have been deleted from social media.
In that video, the man recording continues to tell school officials that this is “discrimination” and said they are bullying children and families.
KOLD went to the business of the man recording those videos. While he was not there, we ran into the parent who expressed his concerns with the school today.
While he did not want to go on camera, he said he plans on filing a lawsuit.
But Carruth believes the group crossed a line.
“We work really hard to try to resolve concerns that parents have and this has absolutely been a difficult and challenging 18 months and I understand when people become frustrated and understand when sometimes we can’t come to a solution that’s agreeable with everybody. But there are ways to resolve this that don’t involve this and that just has no place on a school campus at all,” said Carruth.
In the video, the man recording said they had the zip ties in case a citizen’s arrest needed to be made.
The Tucson Police Department said in order to conduct a citizen’s arrest, the suspect must have committed a misdemeanor amounting to a breach of the peace, or a felony. And when a felony has been committed, the person must have reasonable proof.
“It is a disruption. I recognize that, we recognize that and we all wish that it were different but bringing that concern to a heightened level where staff are threatened is just not okay and it’s not the way to solve problems and I certainly hope that we get back to a place where we can solve tough problems together,” Carruth said.
The parent KOLD spoke with declined to go on camera and said he plans to release a statement and welcomes people to watch VIDEOS that have been posted online.
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