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State fines private school in Albuquerque for mask policy violation | Education

Hope Christian School in Albuquerque has agreed to pay a $5,000 fine for violating a state health regulation to wear masks, the New Mexico Public Education Department said Thursday.

The Department of Public Safety delivered a notice of violation to the non-denominational Christian school in September after Hope Christian Elementary School principal Robyn Taylor wrote in an email in August that the school would not require masks.

According to the Department of Education, Hope Christian is the state’s largest private school with 1,400 students and campuses spanning preschool through high school.

The Ministry of Public Education made masks compulsory in schools on July 26. The state requires private schools to comply with the department’s COVID-19 rules.

Five photos taken on Aug. 12 showed “unmasked people of all ages” at the private school, the Education Ministry said on Thursday.

The department reported the school dropped a request for an evidentiary hearing on the matter on Wednesday.

The school’s attorney, Matthew Spangler, wrote in a letter that the school did not believe the violation was justified but had “made an economic decision to discontinue their dispute and close this matter.”

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