Board members believe in threats as part of an organizational effort

Tampa, Florida — Members of the Board of Education Jennifer Jenkins and Shirley Brown have identified the extent of the threat they have faced since last year.

“My parents will kick my door and drag me out with my hair,” Brown said. “My husband was so annoying that I had to get him to read my email for about a week. There are a lot of things I’m going to take you out,” said Democrat Brown. Did. Sarasota.

Brown, who also served as a member of parliament, said the recent attack on the school’s mask obligations was worse than any political attack she had ever received in Congress. At some point, protesters submitted it outside her home in the gated community.

For Jennifer Jenkins, the threat has been going on since last year, starting with LGBTQ, critical race theory, and now obscuring obligations.

“They came to me like a freight train and I had to beg for mercy,” Jenkins, a Democrat of the Brevard County Board of Education, explained the threat she recently faced. “I received postcards, vulgar phone calls, voicemails, and emails in my house, but they began to escalate in April when the first protests appeared in my house.”

After Jenkins revealed at a school board meeting last week that it included complaints against people protesting with guns outside the house, as well as state child welfare agencies alleging abuse of their daughters. , Made a national headline.

“I have to take DCF investigators to her playdate so they can go under her clothes and check for burn marks. That’s a credible threat,” she said. I told my colleague.

Reporter Katie La Grone asked Jenkins if the DCF complaint was a turning point for her.

“If I were honest, no. I was attacked so often and so badly that I became insensitive to what was happening to me,” she said.

Jennifer Jenkins, a member of the Brevard County Board of Education, talks about harassment

EW Scrips

Jennifer Jenkins was elected to the Brevard County Board of Education in November 2020.

It’s a nationwide issue.

Once a forum for peaceful rants and anti-climate controversies, the school board has become an open forum for hostile crowds, political explosions, screaming matches and arrests.

Despite the National School Boards Association (NSBA) calling on the federal government to investigate threats to school officials, the School Boards Association (FSBA) in Florida describes the federal government’s actions as “overkill.” It is one of the state board of education associations.

“Illegal activity and violence against civil servants should not be tolerated. Period,” said Andrea Messina, managing director of the Florida Association.

But even after hearing how state-wide school board members are dealing with the threat, Messina believes that any action should come first from local law enforcement agencies.

“We don’t have the expertise to determine that level, but we know that the school board is a local government. We believe in local governments and have relationships with local law enforcement agencies. There is, “said Messina.

Andrea Messina, Executive Director of the Florida Schoolboard Association

EW Scrips

Andrea Messina has been a Managing Director of the Florida Board of Education Association since 2015.

For Jenkins and Brown, local law enforcement agencies are involved in the threat they face. But both believe that the person behind the harassment and what is behind it is cut deeper than the passionate parent.

“I truly believe this is an organized and collaborative effort. I’m not going to put it in one organization, but it’s much deeper than people think it understands,” Jenkins said. I did. private detective.

Messina, along with FSBA, heard the roar of external influences.

“I’ve been asking people questions, and I say this is an organized effort by an outside group rather than a parent, so I have a question,” she said.

However, Messina has stopped supporting federal investigations into more organized efforts.

“I can’t speak on behalf of the board,” she said.

The amount of threat posed to these board members appears to be boiling down as school mask obligations are lifted across the state. Currently, additional police are attending all boards of education, and Brown also said he was being taken to a car by police.

Neither Jenkins nor Brown have plans to leave the board, despite little confidence that the burning temper inside and outside the school room will soon end.

“They’re just jumping from topic to topic to stir up confusion and controversy,” Jenkins said.

“There’s anger there, and I think someone is poking a wasp’s nest and angering people. I think it’s for political purposes,” Brown said.

The National School Boards Association continues to consider the concerns raised by Florida and several other states.

Board members believe in threats as part of an organizational effort

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