UPDATED: Parents distribute anti-vaccine flyers, accost Park City High School students
PARK CITY, Utah. — Police Captain Phil Kirk of Park City Police Department said late Friday night that it was “still uncertain” whether or not any parents entered the high school without permission Friday morning to distribute anti-vaccine flyers.
Some students said a small group of parents blocked their cars as they tried to leave school, accosted them verbally, and forced them to take flyers before they would move out of the way so students could leave campus.
Initial police reports yesterday said that a group of five or six parents was directed away from Park City High School Friday morning after entering the school without permission and placing flyers in school restrooms. The flyers advertised a discredited website and promoted unscientific information that local and national health officials reject.
One parent was cited for trespassing. Names of the trespassers were not made public, but the school district confirmed that least one has a student at the high school.
The episode lasted roughly an hour, Kirk said. Most of the activity occurred outside on or near the campus parking lot, where the group called out vaccine-related information widely regarded to be false, and forced flyers into cars and students’ hands. Friday is an early release day at the school.
Officers and school officials said they are still reviewing video surveillance footage and comparing the flyers found in school bathrooms with those the group was distributing in front of the school and in the parking lot.
According to Park City Municipal code 4-2-11, it is “unlawful to pass handbills, handbills or other advertising material by handing such material to passersby, placing them on porches or vehicles, or attaching them to signposts or poles.”
District officials said they have not found evidence of parents getting inside the building yet, which is a separate offense. Superintendent Jill Gildea said four flyers were found in restrooms several hours before the parents arrived.
Flyers in bathrooms since the start of the school day could indicate a student or school employee placed the flyers in those locations.
There are multiple ways an unauthorized person could enter the school; according to several sources including teachers and students, students come and go throughout the day from doors on multiple sides of the building, frequently leaving doors ajar or propped open.
This is a developing story.
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