Two women arrested at Gwinnett school board meeting

01/19/2021 — Lawrenceville, Georgia — The exterior of the Bobby G. Plunkett Jail in Gwinnett County, Lawrenceville, Tuesday January 19, 2021. (Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com)
Caption
01/19/2021 — Lawrenceville, Georgia — The exterior of the Bobby G. Plunkett Jail in Gwinnett County, Lawrenceville, Tuesday January 19, 2021. (Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com)

Credit: Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

Gwinnett County Public Schools police arrested two women at school district headquarters Thursday night before a board of education meeting.

“In both cases, laws were broken and our school resource officers responded appropriately,” said Sloan Roach, school district spokeswoman.

The district had issued a criminal trespass warning to one of the women, Karen Pirkle, after she took off her face mask during last month’s meeting and refused to put it back on or leave. Masks are required in school district facilities.

The school board ended up adjourning last month’s meeting early after a few more parents joined Pirkle in removing their masks and chanting, “Unmask our children.”

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Although Pirkle had been informed that she was no longer allowed on school district property, she showed up to Thursday’s meeting and refused to leave, Roach said. She was charged with violating a criminal trespass warning.

Another woman, 50-year-old Brenda Stewart of Suwanee, rushed through the metal detectors outside the board meeting room without stopping, Roach said. Officers called her back and found scissors in her bag, which they told her she was not allowed to bring into the meeting, Roach said. Stewart grabbed for the scissors and struggled with an officer for them, scratching the officer’s hand, Roach said.

Stewart was charged with willful obstruction of a law enforcement officer.

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Both women were taken to the Gwinnett County Jail, said Roach.

Stewart’s bond was set at $1,300, according to jail records.