Jennifer Jenkins, a Florida school board member in Brevard County, revealed in a viral video posted online that she’s been repeatedly threatened due to her support of a mask mandate.
According to Jenkins, she and her family have been threatened on multiple occasions by people brandishing weapons, menacingly trespassing on their property, and reporting false claims to child protective services that she was abusing her daughter.
She spoke out during a school board meeting on Tuesday in which a state-sponsored resolution to work with local authorities and make meetings safer for everyone involved was being considered. Some members in the community pushed back, prompting her to share the fear she’s been under throughout the process.
“I don’t reject people coming here and speaking their voice,” Jennifer Jenkins said. “They do it all the time. We don’t stop them from doing that.”
She also said that she doesn’t reject people “standing outside my home” and protesting under their First Amendment rights.
“I reject them following me around in a car,” Jennifer Jenkins revealed. “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.”
According to NBC News, protestors “surrounded” her house on Sep. 1, days after the Florida school board passed a 30-day mask mandate. Police reports describe the crows shouting at her and her neighbors, and that Jennifer Jenkins even knew some of the parents from past school board meetings.
She told police and reporters from Florida Today that she recognized them as community members who have disagreed with her supporting masks and her views supporting the LGBTQ+ community.
After putting her 5-year-old daughter to sleep, she reportedly went outside to ask them to leave when one woman came up to her and coughed in her face several times. Another protester, she claimed, yelled “give her the Covid!”
Though unreleased to the public, NBC News confirmed the incident from video shared by local police.
In another incident involving false claims to child protective services, her young daughter was examined by authorities at a friend’s house, where she had to be embarrassingly confirm that her mother did not abuse her in any way.
Her daughter told police “that her mother does not hit her, beat her or drag her around the house,” reports said, adding that Jennifer Jenkins and her family were being harassed by the community over her support for masks. Protestors also allegedly cut down her Plumeria tree and killed grass on her lawn to spell out “F U.”
The FBI are currently investigating some of the more dangerous threats that have been made against teachers across the state of Florida, including those of conservative backlash to discussions of how race is being taught in the classroom.
“Those who dedicate their time and energy to ensuring that our children receive a proper education in a safe environment deserve to be able to do their work without fear for their safety,” Attorney General Merrick Garland wrote in a memo to FBI Director Chris Wray.
The resolution to try and make school board meeting safer narrowly passed, with some community members continuing to decry the use of masks.
“While we disagree, I want to apologize on behalf of the majority,” one anti-mask parent commented. “We do not condone the actions of the extreme fringe outliers do not represent us and they are counterproductive to our goals and we condemn them as well.”
In response to Republican Governor Ron DeSantis’ ban on school’s implementing mask mandates, The Department of Education on Thursday paid back many school boards and educators whose pay was docked as punishment for disobeying his orders.
“We should be thanking districts for using proven strategies that will keep schools open and safe, not punishing them,” said Education Secretary Miguel Cardona. “With these grants, we’re making sure schools and communities across the country that are committed to safely returning to in-person learning know that we have their backs.”