A masked man recently invited himself onto a Valley school campus, demanding to record video.
He’s a so-called ‘First Amendment auditor.’ His group appears to go around the state recording video in public offices, like police departments, waiting to see how employees react to the cameras.
The group goes by the name “Dragonfire Auditing.”
Its members try to stay anonymous, sometimes wearing masks and refusing to share their names.
Last week he and at least one other person visited the Cave Creek Unified School District offices and scared a lot of people in the process.
They were calling back to the high school saying there’s some strange man out here with a mask on. It was very frightening to the students,” said CCUSD superintendent Dr. Debbie Burdick
They head straight for the district office where they are asked to sign in.
“We have a preschool on this campus sir and we need to sign in visitors,” a school employee said in the video recorded by the group.
The pair refuse to give their drivers licenses and police are called. Things escalate from there.
They argue there is no state law that requires needing a photo ID to sign into a school. This is technically true, but CCUSD says it’s up to them to implement security measures. Three years ago, the elected school board approved using a third party service to check visitors’ names.
“They all run people through a database to make sure they have not committed crimes against children,” said Burdick.
“I don’t follow your protocols because you work for us we don’t work for you,” the unannounced visitor stated in his video.
Except, that statement is not necessarily true. CCUSD is a non-state aid district. It is funded only by the residents of Cave Creek.
Unless he lives in Cave Creek, none of his tax money goes to this district or its employees.
Still, the man is only interested in filming, though he doesn’t share his reasons why.
“It’s a secret,” he said.
He later uploaded the video to YouTube.
The First Amendment protects recording video on public property. However, on public school property, things get a little more complicated.
“Every parent has an assumption that when they send their child to school they’re safe,” said Burdick.
The men eventually left. But Burdick says they called the office between 40 and 50 times each day for several days.
The district says the next time this group, or anyone, refuses to sign in at the front desk, they’re going to immediately call police and charge them with trespassing.