Member of FWCS board defends her retweets on issues
12 Aug 2020 — Journal Gazette
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Ashley Sloboda

A Fort Wayne Community Schools board member is drawing more than ire over her social media posts : her tweets have led to a call for her removal.

But Glenna Jehl, who represents a portion of northeast Fort Wayne, has no plans to resign because of a difference of opinion, she said in a phone interview Tuesday.

Parent and teacher Jessica Farlow publicly criticized Jehl's tweets as board members and district administrators waited out a tornado warning after the board meeting adjourned Monday night. Jehl was absent.

Jehl, who holds a nonpartisan office, regularly retweets political posts to her 84 followers; her Twitter bio does not include her affiliation with FWCS. Topics she has retweeted about since June include the Black Lives Matter movement, the presidential candidates, the coronavirus pandemic and the reopening of schools.

Multiple tweets upset Farlow.

"These tweets ... were not only offensive in nature, but they attacked the integrity of the entire public school system," Farlow said. "They attacked my role as a professional and called me a parasite : not me personally but teachers in general. They attacked First Amendment rights of protesters and said they should be shot. They attacked our minority students and likened masks to being forced to wear a hijab or a burka. This is completely unacceptable to me."

That's a mouthful of accusations, Jehl said. She specifically rebutted the claim about her stance on public education, stressing that she serves on the board because she believes in public education.

She described Twitter as a forum for opinions and cautioned people from assuming she agrees with everything she retweets. It's vital for elected leaders to consider a range of opinions, she said.

"I think we will come to better decisions if there is a diversity of opinions on the board," Jehl said.

Farlow called on FWCS board President Julie Hollingsworth to remove Jehl as the District 2 trustee. However, the school board doesn't have that power : only a judge does, and in "very limited" circumstances, according to the Indiana School Boards Association.

Hollingsworth had no comment.

Jehl isn't surprised public criticism followed The Journal Gazette's Aug. 1 editorial about her asking FWCS leaders whether they've discussed providing hydroxychloroquine to teachers. President Donald Trump has touted : and top health officials have criticized : the drug as a COVID-19 treatment; Twitter and Facebook also quashed a discredited study about it.

Jehl predicted "the activists within the teachers union or within the community would probably have a target on my back" and said it's unfortunate people demand public officials step down because they have a different opinion.

"That's a sad state that our nation is in, that we're so divided," she added.

Jehl's term expires at the end of 2020. Candidate filings as of Monday showed that only Regenia Jones has submitted paperwork to run for the District 2 seat in November. The deadline is noon Aug. 21.

asloboda@jg.net

This story is provided free courtesy of The Fort Wayne Newspapers.
"Member of FWCS board defends her retweets on issues" Journal Gazette 12 Aug 2020: C1