A Pennsylvania school director resigned Wednesday amid backlash over a Facebook post that said she would “shoot” anyone who came within 6 feet of her without a face mask on.
Selinsgrove school director Jennifer Rager-Kay, a physician who last year unsuccessfully ran as a Democrat for Rep. Fred Keller’s state House seat, came under fire Monday after she posted a rant against anti-lockdown protesters that gathered last week in Harrisburg.
“I find it interesting that the largest group of those protesting in the anti-lockdown protest and refusing to wear masks in public as they see it as a violation of their constitutional rights are those against any form of gun regulation,” she wrote, The Daily Item reported. “As a conceal carry permitted gun owner, if you refuse to wear a mask and try to come within six feet of my family, I will exercise the same constitutional rights to shoot you.”
Two days after her post, Dr. Rager-Kay submitted her resignation to Selinsgrove board president Dennis Wolfe, blaming Snyder County Chairman Joe Kantz, a Republican, for sharing her post, which she said invited death threats to her family.
“As a result of a post placed on social media, I have received threats against my personal and professional well being that with great sorrow have compelled me to submit this letter of formal resignation from the Selinsgrove Area School District Board of Directors,” Dr. Rager-Kay wrote in her resignation letter, The Daily Item reported. “For a position I am honored and passionate to serve, this is no easy decision and l feel it necessary to explain.
“This private social media post, that Snyder County Commissioner Joe Kantz elected to capture and share, has confirmed the state of affairs that prompted me to post it in the first place,” she continued. “Our society is so divided and entrenched with the ‘you vs. me’ selfish mentality, that we fail to recognize the level of hypocrisy this represents. Someone approaching me or my family not wearing a mask while in the midst of a pandemic, and refusing to back off if asked, represents a potentially deadly threat. Those who carry their rifles to rallies and protests speak so passionately about the right to personal defense, are the same ones now attacking me for boldly asserting that I would meet a deadly threat with deadly force.”
Dr. Rager-Kay said she would willingly “serve as the scapegoat” to call attention to the “extreme level of hatred and ignorance that exists and continues to pervade our community.”
Her husband, Snyder County public defender Peter Kay, also resigned Wednesday, saying he and his wife had been “inundated with harassing messages and emails from people threatening to come to our home to challenge our commitment to the safety and health of our family — people who were stoked into action by the chairman’s crass political opportunism. I am saddened that it has come to this, but I no longer feel safe in the Courthouse, and most unfortunately, my home is now threatened.”
Mr. Kantz declined to respond to the couple’s claims.
“I’m sorry to see him leave,” Mr. Kantz said of Mr. Kay, The Daily Item reported. “I think he did a good job, and people in the courthouse like him.”
Dr. Rager-Kay initially stated she had no plans to resign, but on Tuesday, she issued an apology of sorts “to anyone offended.”
“As a wife, mother and physician, it is my job and responsibility to ‘do no harm’ and the constant barrage of protests and defiance to public health reached a boiling point for me, thus the reason for my overly dramatic and exaggerated post,” she wrote Tuesday, PennLive reported. “My words demonstrated how constitutional rights can be misinterpreted, and were meant to serve as an example of extremism.
“Bioterrorism is, however, a real threat and refusal to prevent and/or the intentional release or dissemination of biological agents by not wearing a mask during a global pandemic is a clear example,” she wrote. “I am sorry if my words were offensive or derogatory in any way. My concern and compassion for human life got the best of me.”
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