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School Board leader tells of death threats after vaccine mandate vote

Updated September 8, 2021 - 3:49 pm

Clark County School Board President Linda Cavazos says she has received death threats and “nasty messages” following the board’s decision last week to move forward with mandating COVID-19 vaccinations for employees.

Cavazos first posted about the threats Tuesday on Twitter, saying she had received messages saying she should be hanged or shot, “along with very disturbing images.”

“I simply turn in the names and reports, and continue doing my job, as do my colleagues,” she wrote. “We have no time for the hate.”

Cavazos told the Review-Journal on Wednesday she decided to post on Twitter after coming off a long weekend in which she received constant calls and “nasty messages” on her personal phone.

She said she also followed the protocol for trustees to turn threatening messages over to the superintendent, who in turn passes them on to the Clark County School District police. Department spokesman Lt. Bryan Zink confirmed Wednesday that officers are investigating the threats.

Cavazos said she had been receiving threatening messages before last week’s vote on the vaccine mandate, but “it got worse” after the vote.

Text messages and phone calls began as she was driving home from the meeting, she said. Several threats have mentioned hanging or shooting, with one suggesting the latter should occur in public so that people could watch.

Cavazos said she was also sent a file of disturbing photos, including people being tortured, with a message saying that was what she deserved.

“I just don’t see that as a constructive use of peoples’ time, to put it mildly,” she said.

Cavazos said she has taken some extra security measures as a result of the threats and blocked some people on social media because the messages were extremely upsetting to family members, former students and friends.

Zink, the school district police spokesman, said Cavazos met with the department’s detectives on Wednesday and that the department had sent administrative subpoenas to Twitter to try to identify users who made threats via the online platform, he said.

Zink said the agency will work with the Metropolitan Police Department to try to determine who made the threats and their validity.

In the meantime, Zink said police have also been escorting trustees to their cars at board meetings. Security also has been beefed up during the meetings, with private security guards augmenting police officers.

Hundreds of people attended last week’s meeting and the board heard more than five hours of contentious public comments — overwhelmingly opposed to a mandate — before voting 5-1 to authorize Superintendent Jesus Jara to draft and implement a mandatory vaccination policy, noting the process will include negotiating with employee unions. Trustee Danielle Ford opposed the motion and Trustee Katie Williams wasn’t present for the vote.

Contact Julie Wootton-Greener at jgreener@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2921. Follow @julieswootton on Twitter.

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