Three Men with Zip Ties Confront Arizona Principal After Student was Ordered to Quarantine

A principal in Arizona was reportedly confronted by three men, who threatened to make a citizen’s arrest, after the son of one of them was told to quarantine because of possible COVID-19 exposure.

Diane Vargo, principal at Mesquite Elementary School said that while she welcomes parents with complaints, the type she encountered was not acceptable.

“My door is open to talking to parents but the way he did it was not OK. Bringing zip ties to a principal’s office — that’s not OK,” she said.

The incident occurred on Thursday after a father was told that his son should be quarantined for at least a week under Pima County Health Department guidelines. Because the man had been aggressive and noisy while talking with the office staff, Vargo directed him to the office.

Vargo shared that the three men barged into the office and one of them was taking a video of the incident.

She said, “The two men barged into my office while he had a video on my face. They were three big men and one of them was carrying zip ties. My assistant and I were too scared.”

Vargo also said, “They threatened to arrest us.” 


Photo credits: NBC News 

They called on the Tucson police and Vargo left her office while the men and the boy remained inside. She said it was important to make sure the men were isolated from the students and the staff.

Meanwhile, the Tucson police officers refused to answer questions about the incident on Friday. A spokesperson said in an email that the police went to the school because “of a fight brewing” and that a 40-year-old man was cited for trespassing. 

Vargo said the man was the parent.

NBC News generally does not identify suspects in minor crimes even though the police named the man. The man declined to comment regarding the incident last Friday.

The superintendent of the Vail Unified School District, John Carruth called it an “isolated incident.” He also said that this incident is not indicative of our community. ‘It’s not indicative of our schools.

In a videotaped statement last Friday, Vargo teared up and said it was difficult to see the student witness what transpired in her office.

“His father wanted him here,” Vargo said. “He sat right next to him, and he witnessed all of it. He saw the threats. He saw the aggressiveness. He saw the large zip ties. He saw it all and I felt bad for him.”


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