BROOKSVILLE, Fla. (WFLA) — A petition calling for Hernando County Public Schools board member Shannon Rodriguez to step down from her seat had received over 12,000 signatures as of 4 p.m. Thursday.
The school board member recently made national headlines after reporting a fifth-grade teacher to the state for showing students a Disney film with a gay character.
Hernando County teacher Heather Carter says that since the board member took the district 3 seat last year, teachers have been feeling the pressure.
“Mrs. Barbee’s is just the latest in this long streak of teacher attacks,” Carter said.
Carter claims Rodriguez is visiting different classrooms and that’s caused some teachers to clear their walls out of fear.
“She is literally on a witch-hunt, she is going into classrooms looking for ally stickers, looking for pride flags, looking for anything she can attack teachers for,” Carter said.
Hernando County parent Ken Mayon says Rodriguez is simply doing the work she was elected to do.
“She’s fighting for the kids and for the parents and that’s what we want in this community,” Mayon said.
Petitioners believe the board members actions could cause teachers to leave the district, which currently has 150 unfilled instructional positions.
“Maybe Mrs. Rodriguez pushes too many buttons or she can drag on with her speeches, but at least whenever we reach out to her, the conversation comes up in the board meetings,” Mayon said.
David Bond has two children in the schools district and says he started going to board meetings after learning his student’s advanced program teachers were leaving.
“We’re losing the qualified teachers because they feel oppressed and intimidated,” Bond said.