Kari Turner Pinellas County mother arrested during school board meeting for refusing to wear mask amid heated debate whether to extend face mask mandate amid ratcheting infections.
A Florida mom was arrested for refusing to wear a face mask during a ‘heated’ school board meeting in which officials voted in favor of continuing to require them in the classroom amid the ongoing coronavirus.
Kari Turner, 40, was caught on on video being handcuffed in front of her two children Tuesday at the Pinellas County School Board hearing in Largo, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
‘That’s my mom! That’s my mom!’ her teenage daughter could be heard shouting.
School district police took Turner into custody in the building’s lobby on charges of battery on a law enforcement officer, trespassing, and disorderly conduct.
‘The individual refused to wear a mask, which began a series of events that led to the arrest,’ school spokeswoman Isabel Macarenas said.
Parents pleaded the case against masks
More than two dozen parents had showed up to the Tuesday afternoon hearing to argue against extending the district’s mask mandate.
‘These are people that have anxiety issues, these are people that have health exemptions,’ parent Debra Williams said.
‘But the problem is, we are all being discriminated against and we are all being mistreated because we are a minority, and they don’t like it.’
Offered another parent, ‘The masks are physically and psychologically abusing children.’
Board votes 4-1 to extend policy
‘The people that we are not hearing from today are also the ones that wrote to us that say please keep the face masks in place,’ said Carol Cook, who sits on the board.
The board voted 4-1 to extend the policy, which has been in effect since classes resumed in August.
The current policy has no expiration date. Instead, school leaders will review school face mask demands every three months. All students and staff are still required to wear masks.
Public health professionals say with cases on the rise – masks are the safest way to keep schools open.
The decision comes as the positivity rate for Pinellas County reached 9.5% Monday — bringing the two-week average to above 5%.
Several weeks ago, Pinellas County had one of the lowest positivity rates in the state.
The US is experiencing record daily infection rates circa 130,000 individuals with Florida having recorded over 852, 174 infections and 17,253 deaths.