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School therapist resigns after alleged involvement in riots

January 8, 2021 GMT
Violent protesters, loyal to President Donald Trump, storm the Capitol, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. It's been a stunning day as a number of lawmakers and then the mob of protesters tried to overturn America's presidential election, undercut the nation's democracy and keep Democrat Joe Biden from replacing Trump in the White House. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
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Violent protesters, loyal to President Donald Trump, storm the Capitol, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. It's been a stunning day as a number of lawmakers and then the mob of protesters tried to overturn America's presidential election, undercut the nation's democracy and keep Democrat Joe Biden from replacing Trump in the White House. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
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Violent protesters, loyal to President Donald Trump, storm the Capitol, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. It's been a stunning day as a number of lawmakers and then the mob of protesters tried to overturn America's presidential election, undercut the nation's democracy and keep Democrat Joe Biden from replacing Trump in the White House. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A Cleveland school occupational therapist resigned from the district after her alleged involvement in the riots and breach at the U.S. Capitol this week.

But her resignation letter cited reasons for her departure related to switching career paths to focus on exposing human trafficking and pedophilia and not wanting to take a COVID-19 vaccine in order to return to in-person school.

Christine Priola, 49, submitted a resignation letter to the Cleveland Metropolitan School District on Thursday after social media users linked her to photos taken of a violent mob loyal to President Donald Trump who stormed the U.S. Capitol a day before and forced lawmakers into hiding in an attempt to overturn the presidential election.

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A message seeking comment about whether Priola was under federal investigation was left Friday for the U.S. attorney for northern Ohio.

The school district accepted her resignation shortly after she submitted it and stated while officials believe in the right of any individual to peacefully protest, it condemns the actions taken by hundreds on Wednesday.

“The right of peaceful protest, as protected by the first amendment, is a foundation of our democracy,” said spokesperson Roseann Canfora. “The forcible takeover and willful destruction of our government is not.”

In the resignation letter, Priola cites beliefs that are in line with a conspiracy theory espoused by some Trump supporters who attended Wednesday’s riots. QAnon is the baseless belief that Trump has been secretly fighting deep state enemies and a cabal of Satan-worshipping cannibals operating a child sex-trafficking ring.

Priola also stated she’s resigning because she refuses to take the COVID-19 vaccine after Republican Gov. Mike DeWine announced this week that school employees in Ohio are scheduled to receive it Feb. 1 if the district agrees to return to in-class learning in March.

A message seeking comment was left at a phone number listed for Priola.

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Farnoush Amiri is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.