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Pinellas School Board extends mask rule indefinitely, upset parent gets arrested

Pinellas County

LARGO, Fla. (WFLA) – Tensions ran high at the Pinellas County School Board meeting Tuesday resulting in an arrest. School district officials said a woman refused to wear a mask which set off a series of clashes with the board and even school police.

At the Pinellas County School District Headquarters in Largo Tuesday school board members ultimately voted to extend their mask ordinance. But many parents and people in the community spoke at the meeting and stood outside to protest that decision.

8 On Your Side is told one of the moms was arrested just outside the meeting, while her daughter watched.

Alea Kench said she came to the meeting with her mom, Kari Turner, to speak to school board members Tuesday in hopes of convincing them to vote to deny the extension requiring students to wear masks in school.

The extension of the mask mandate passed 4-1 after hours of deliberation and hearing from upset parents.

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

Meanwhile, outside the board meeting near the front of the building, Jeremy Kench said his wife was arrested and his daughters injured by Pinellas County School Board Police.

Kench said his daughter’s hand was hurt severely enough to have her taken to the hospital.

“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 told 8 on your side Kari 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.

Samantha Stefano said she doesn’t know Turner but that she was the reason Turner came inside to begin with because police were giving her a hard time for not wearing a mask.

“What would you say to Turner if she was here?” Christine McLarty asked Stefano as the scene Tuesday afternoon.

“Thank you and I’m sorry.” When we asked why she was sorry Stefano said, “Because [Turner] got arrested and her kid got tackled to the ground over craziness!”.

Kench told 8 On Your Side he’s going to press charges, claiming his wife and daughter were mistreated by Pinellas County School Board Police.

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