Florida mother reportedly arrested at school board meeting for not wearing mask
On Tuesday, November 10, police reportedly arrested a Florida woman for refusing to wear a mask as she was exiting a school board meeting that was convened to discuss the district’s face mask policy.
Shortly after her daughter testified in front of board members in opposition to the continuation of the policy, Kari Tuner, 40, apparently found herself on the ground and in cuffs in the school board administration building lobby as the family was allegedly exiting the building.
Authorities reportedly charged Turner with battery on a law enforcement officer, trespassing, and disorderly conduct, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
In a video of the incident, Turner’s understandably upset daughter can apparently be heard shouting “that’s my mom; that’s my mom.”
According to a spokeswoman for the Pinellas County School Board, “The individual refused to wear a mask, which began a series of events that led to the arrest.” The school board chair vowed that the follow-up to the arrest — which evidently prompted outrage among other parents and children in attendance — “will be will be completely transparent.”
One local news report embedded below indicates that school district police also arrested a teen in the same incident.
Watch local TV coverage of the incident embedded below:
About 25 parents showed up at the meeting to oppose mandatory school face masks. By a vote of 4-1, school board members in the county located in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area extended the face mask mandate, however, which they agreed to revisit every three months. Pinellas officials implemented the policy when schools reopened in August.
With a related video posted to Facebook, attendee Sam Stefano wrote that “I was blocked at the top of the stairs because I took my mask off while leaving. They refused to let me leave the building. I put it on & they still refused to let me leave unless I gave them my information so that I wouldn’t be able to return…
“While I was giving them my information another family came to check on me. The mother was arrested, the 13 yr old daughter was tackled to the ground screaming for her mom.”
Parent Debra Williams took to Facebook to declare that “We demand the Pinellas county school board police be held accountable for their brutal behavior towards parents who spoke at today’s meeting regarding the unethical extension of mask mandates in our public schools…We are not animals, we are not inmates, we demand to be treated with respect.”
“The parents wondered why they could not be allowed simply to leave, as happens in stores when a customer does not wear a mask.” the Times noted.
“Opponents to Pinellas’ masking rule have raised a number of objections, some based on health concerns for their children and others saying face coverings are not necessary, given the low incidence of COVID-19 illness and death in the community,” the news outlet added.