A crowd of about a dozen angry protesters stood outside the home of Sarasota County School Board President Shirley Brown on Monday night with a siren and megaphones, calling her a “tyrant” and urging her to go out, according to photos and a video of the event.
Photos Brown took from inside his house show about nine adults and six young children standing on the street outside his house.
An unidentified man speaking into a megaphone asked Brown to come out and face them.
“We ask you to resign,” said the man. “Let Shirley come out for our First Amendment grievance remedy. He’s a little tyrant.”
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“I was worried,” Brown said. “When you’ve got somebody in a Proud Boys t-shirt, when you know they’re the same ones that went to Washington (January 6th).”
The Proud Boys, a far-right group, are among the most notorious extremist groups involved in the storming of Capitol Hill on January 6.
Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Kaitlyn Perez said the agency had received complaints about noise from protesters and sent a deputy. She said the group left shortly after law enforcement arrived, around 6:30 p.m., and that there had been no arrests or summons.
“Whether or not this is a violation will depend on whether the street is public or private property,” Perez said in an email. “If it is private, the owner of the street (ie the HOA) can request that a trespass be issued.”
Tendency to threaten school board members across the country
The protesters came the same day the US Department of Justice issued a memo regarding “violent threats against school officials.”
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Attorney General Merrick Garland has asked the FBI and the United States attorney’s offices to meet with local law enforcement officials across the country to combat the tendency of people to threaten school board members.
“Threats against public officials are not only illegal, they go against our country’s core values,” Garland said.
Brown said the people who have come forward are part of a Republican-orchestrated effort to take control of local school boards. She said there is a direct link between a big push by the Conservatives for parental rights and protesters showing up at elected officials’ houses.
She pointed the finger at her fellow board member Bridget Ziegler, co-founder of the national “Moms For Liberty” movement.
“It’s an organized threat they’re making across the country. It’s organized by the Republicans, and Bridget (Ziegler) continues on Fox and tells people parents need to get up, talk and go to council meetings. school, ”Brown said.
Ziegler described people outside Brown’s house as “fools,” and local Moms For Liberty chief Alexis Spiegelman said their group had no affiliation with the protesters and did not neither authorized nor supported such activity.
“They should be in jail,” Ziegler said, referring to anyone who utters threats or acts of violence. “How you stand up is just as important as what you stand up for. Seeing people outside my coworker’s house, whether I agree with her or disagree with her, I think those people are. fools and that doesn’t solve anything and only causes more problems. “
Ziegler said, however, that she opposed the Justice Department’s directive and that it would have a “chilling effect” on parents who are not violent and wish to speak to the school board.
New policy could allow president to end discourteous comments
The board is scheduled to hold a workshop Tuesday afternoon, with a proposal to change the public comments on the agenda. He is about to vote on advertising a new policy that would give the chairman of the board more leeway to end public comments deemed discourteous.
Board meetings have been marred by resentment in recent months as it debated whether to impose masking in schools, and a majority of board members are considering changes to the contribution. from the public to minimize disruption.
Ryan McKinnon covers schools for the Herald-Tribune. Connect with him at [email protected] or on Twitter: @JRMcKinnon. Support the Sarasota Herald-Tribune by subscribing today.