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Arizona principal shares how ‘aggressive’ dad and two of his friends threatened her with zip ties

An Arizona elementary school principal – who was threatened with zip ties by three men for following county-set COVID-19 protocols – said she received a death threat immediately after the encounter. 

In an interview with KOLD.com, Diane Vargo read the disturbing email on camera.  

‘The next time it will be a barrel pointed at your Nazi face,’ the email says.   

‘Following the guidance you say? The Nazis were just following orders too. Guess we will have to see what side you choose. The Americans or the Nazis.

‘Remember, Tucson is a small community and you have a target on your back for enforcing unlawful orders.’

It’s unclear who sent the email, which was sent shortly after Vargo’s harrowing encounter Thursday in Mesquite Elementary School.

That saw a dad – since named by police as Rishi Rambaran, and two of his male friends barge into Vargo’s office, threaten to make a citizen’s arrest and brandish zip ties while filming the confrontation. 

Mesquite Elementary School Principal in Arizona Diane Vargo read an email after Thursday’s incident that started with ‘The next time it will be a barrel pointed at your Nazi face’

Vargo teared up during the interview when she discussed the 'overwhelming' support from community

Vargo teared up during the interview when she discussed the ‘overwhelming’ support from community 

Rishi Rambaran, whose son had to quarantine confronted the school's principal with zip ties and threatened to make citizen's arrest over school's rules

Rishi Rambaran, whose son had to quarantine confronted the school’s principal with zip ties and threatened to make citizen’s arrest over school’s rules

The incident unfolded after the dad who organized the confrontation grew angry that his son was going to miss a field trip because he had to be quarantined after a potential COVID-19 exposure.

He confronted Vargo even though the rule had been laid out by the Prima County Health Department.

‘They just walked right in and one of them had a phone out and was recording everything again and then the other man was standing in my doorway with military-grade back zip ties in his hands,’ Vargo told KOLD.

 In an interview with KGUN9, Vargo said she felt ‘scared’ and ‘violated.’

‘I asked them to leave and they would not,’ she said.

‘In order for our school to remain open, we have to follow Pima County Health Department. I tried to explain that. He didn’t want to hear it.’ 

After the incident made national headlines, Vargo said during a tearful interview that there was ‘overwhelming support’ from the community and the nation, with many people sending her flowers and well wishes.  

Tucson police declined to answer most questions Friday, but a spokesperson told NBC News in an email that police went to the school because ‘of a fight brewing’ and that a 40-year-old man was cited for trespassing. 

Vargo said Rambaran had claimed it was illegal for the school to force his son into quarantine.  

He was not the one who had the zip ties, according to the superintendent.  

The entire incident was captured on a livestream recorded by a man who identified himself as Kelly Walker, owner of Viva Coffee in Tucson. The third man involved in the confrontation has not been named. 

A group of fathers recorded themselves 'confronting' principal Diane Vargo (pictured) after one of their sons was ordered to quarantine

A group of fathers recorded themselves ‘confronting’ principal Diane Vargo (pictured) after one of their sons was ordered to quarantine 

The man behind the video has self-identified as Kelly Walker (pictured), owner of Viva Coffee in Tucson

The man behind the video has self-identified as Kelly Walker (pictured), owner of Viva Coffee in Tucson

The men left the school grounds before Tucson Police Department officers arrived. 

No one was hurt in the incident and the district is deciding whether or not to press charges against against the men.  

Superintendent Carruth says he knows tensions are high but that the parents took things too far. 

‘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 is ways to resolve this that don’t involve this and that just has no place on a school campus at all,’ Carruth told KOLD.com  

The incident comes as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations among children are continuing to rise as the early stages of the new school year are struck by the Delta variant.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) reports that 200,000 children tested positive for COVID-19 in the week of August 26, the second highest weekly total recorded during the pandemic.

Children also accounted for over 19,000 of the 812,000 hospitalizations recorded that week. While week-over-week totals did increase, it was at a much lower rate than the 50 percent increase from the previous week.

A group of dads captured their march to the Mesquite Elementary School's principal office (school pictured)

A group of dads captured their march to the Mesquite Elementary School’s principal office (school pictured)

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