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Welp, Now You’ve Done It.

From the Florida Today:

Brevard School Board member Jennifer Jenkins took to the national airwaves Thursday to lay out details of what she described as a campaign of harassment against her by critics, including vague threats and dubious accusations of child abuse.

MSNBC interviewed Jenkins Wednesday evening and Thursday morning after comments she made at Tuesday’s schoolboard meeting went viral on social media.

Jenkins detailed some challenges she has faced in response to her support of mask mandates and a federal investigation into threats and pressure on school board members around the country who support robust measures to fight the COVID-19 pandemic in schools.

Oh great.

If you are one of the people who threatened Jenkins, protested in front of her home, followed her, or went behind her home with “weapons” as she alleges, you are a moron.

A complete, total, utter moron.

You made a situation where you had some moral high ground, and turned the very people with whom you disagree into victims.

“I don’t reject people coming here and speaking their voice, they do it all the time,” Jenkins said the Tuesday board meeting. “We don’t stop them from doing that. I don’t reject them standing outside my home. I reject them following me around in a car, following my car around. I reject them saying that they’re ‘coming for me’;’ that I need to ‘beg for mercy.’”

“I reject that, when they are using their First Amendment rights on public property, they’re also going behind my home and brandishing their weapons to my neighbors, that they’re making false (Department of Children and Family) claims against me to my daughter, that I have to take a DCF investigator to her playdate to go underneath her clothing and check for burn marks.”

If you are the idiot that called DCF on Jenkins, turn in your parenting card.

Turn in your decency card.

Then go and apply for your “I’m a Moronic Hypocrite” card.

You can’t sit there and demand that you as a parent and not the state have the right to make the decisions for your children and then make a claim that involves the state investigating a baseless claim against Jenkins.

You don’t want the state involved in your parenting? Then don’t call the state on another parent to make some political point.

Shame on you for bring Jenkins’ kids into this heated discussion.

While this was going on, Sheriff Wayne Ivey voiced his opinion:

Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey weighed in on the school district’s mask mandate in a video livestreamed on the Space Coast Daily’s Facebook page Wednesday. He said the School Board violated state rules by instituting the mask policy and he stands with parents who wish to decide for themselves whether their children should wear masks to class.

“We’ve never been the mask police,” Ivey said. “If they’re at school and the teacher asks them to put a mask on and they don’t want to do it, that’s between little Johnny and little Jane and the teacher. We’re not getting involved. If things start to get out of hand and violence starts to erupt … then our team will engage.”

Ivey further said that the mask mandate has caused School Board meetings to “get out of control” because parents are “outraged.”

Whoa.

Back the law enforcement truck up here.

In a post we wrote the other day, we noted:

[Brevard School Board Chairperson Misty] Belford makes the mistake that “proper decorum” is what she thinks it is, despite First Amendment concerns to the contrary. Somehow she feels that the “Board rules” trump the Federal and Florida Constitution. Like it or not, people can make statements that are personally directed, and “abusive” (whatever that may mean.) Short of making “true threats,” uttering or displaying obscene material (which must have a sexual component, and not just a curse word) and or inciting the crowd to imminent illegal violence or actions, people can say what they want in a public meeting (as long as it stays on topic, of course.)

Belford makes a second error when she says that she will have the room cleared – which she did on Tuesday.

We agree that the School Board can remove or cause to be removed those individuals who are disrupting a meeting. We can’t state that enough. We agree with that. However, by her own statements and the very statutes she cites, people that are told to leave must actually be doing something that disrupts the meeting. A person sitting on their hands and watching the proceedings has done nothing wrong and has every right to be on public property as the Board members.

Belford thinks her authority as a Board Chair exceeds that of the law and as we said, the Federal and State Constitution.

After the Belford had ordered a recess and cleared the room on Tuesday (without issuing any warnings to specific individuals or asking them to be removed,) Belford reconvened the meeting, not allowing the public into the room.

That’s a problem.

Belford said the state does not prevent the board from establishing rules for decorum, and the public was still allowed to access the meeting via audio outside the building and online livestreams.

“I think that you would be hard pressed to claim that there was a sunshine violation,” Belford said.

We are not hard pressed at all.

Exclusion of certain members of the public:

The term “open to the public” as used in the Sunshine Law means open to all persons who choose to attend. AGO 99-53. Cf. Ribaya v. Board of Trustees of City Pension Fund for Firefighters and Police Officers in City of Tampa, 162 So. 3d 348, 356 (Fla. 2d DCA 2015) (although there appears to be no case law “squarely resolving” whether a wrongful exclusion of one person would void all actions taken at the meeting, “there is legal support for that proposition”).

Section 286.011, F.S., requires that meetings of public boards or commissions be “open to the public at all times . . . .” See Neu v. Miami Herald Publishing Company, 462 So. 2d 821, 823 (Fla. 1985), disapproving a procedure permitting representatives of the media to attend a city council meeting provided that they agreed to “respect the confidentiality” of certain matters: “Under the Sunshine Law, a meeting is either fully open or fully closed; there are no intermediate categories.” (emphasis ours)

Source: “Government In the Sunshine Manual,” published by the Florida State Attorney General.

The School Board is a public body holding a meeting that by statute, is a public meeting. The Brevard County School Board cannot lock out all people of that meeting.

And guess who it was that kept people out of the public meeting when it resumed?

You guessed it. It was Deputies from the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office who are under the command of Sheriff Wayne Ivey.

People are not only upset by the mask mandate, they are upset by the illegal actions of the Sheriff’s Office.

(For the record, Jenkins doesn’t get a pass on this either. She was sitting on the dais when Belford refused to follow the law and let the public back into a public meeting. While we are obviously condemning the actions and threats made against Jenkins and her family, she needs to stand up and live up to her words of not “reject[ing] First Amendment rights.”)

Still, the bottom line is that if you were one of the morons who threatened Jenkins – or any member of any board, body, or legislature – you should be ashamed of yourself.

In regards to Jenkins and the School Board, you presumably have kids in the system and you need to ask yourself what message are you sending to your kids by threatening an elected official?

If your kids disagree with a teacher, aren’t you teaching them that threats and violence are acceptable?

If your kids disagree with you, are you teaching them that they can plan, plot and “come to get” you?

Grow the heck up.

Debate like a responsible adult and member of the community.

Be an adult and a parent your kids can look up to.



One Response to “Welp, Now You’ve Done It.”

  1. Percy Veer says:

    You are absolutely correct that this type of bad behavior must stop immediately. I’m sure a lot of it stems from protective parents who feel their children are under attack and get highly emotional. But now that they recognize this they need to put emotions aside and be the adult in the room so their voices are actually heard and not just passed off as lunatic rantings from the fringe. Now is the time for these parents to calm down and make their voices heard in a clear and concise manner, not yelling and screaming. And don’t forget your ultimate power is your vote, elect people you believe in and trust (if possible).

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