Florida mom arrested after refusing to wear mask at school board hearing on mask rule

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LARGO, Fla. (WFLA) – Florida school district officials said a woman refused to wear a mask during a school board meeting on Tuesday, setting off a series of clashes with the board and even school police that led to her arrest.

Kari Turner, 40, was arrested in front of her daughter outside the Pinellas County School District Headquarters, according to the Tampa Bay Times. Video shared on Facebook shows Turner’s daughter screaming “that’s my mom!” as officers take her into custody.

Turner’s daughter, Alea Kench, said she went to the meeting to speak to school board members in hopes of convincing them to vote against extending the rule that requires students to wear masks in school. It was ultimately approved by a 4-1 vote.

The mask ruling lasts indefinitely but will be reviewed every three months.

Several parents and people in the community spoke at the meeting and stood outside to protest that decision.

Jeremy Kench, Turner’s husband, said his daughter’s hand was hurt badly enough during the incident that she needed medical attention.

“I have to follow the ambulance to help see my daughter off to the hospital and then I got to go see what [my wife] was arrested for,” Kench said angry and upset Tuesday afternoon.

The Pinellas County School District said Turner is being charged with trespassing after being warned, disorderly conduct, and battery on a law enforcement officer. They said Turner refused to wear a mask which led to the series of events and ultimately her arrest.

Kench said he’s going to press charges, claiming his wife and daughter were mistreated by Pinellas County School Board Police.

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