Aug 24, 2021 - COVID

Anonymous anti-mask mail sent to Ankeny School Board members

A photo of two anonymous mailers with anti-mask and anti-vaccine messages that were sent to residents in Ankeny.

A few of the anonymous mailers sent to some Ankeny residents in recent days. Photos courtesy of Amy Tagliareni

Anonymous postcards with anti-vaccine and anti-mask messages recently showed up in the mailboxes of at least four Ankeny School Board members, board vice president Amy Tagliareni told Axios Monday.

What happened: Tagliareni said she and the other board members received different mailers, but they all were made in the same format.

  • Tagliareni said hers was mailed from New Hampshire, and linked to a self-described global network of activists fighting "fear-mongering, lies and propaganda" associated with the pandemic.

Why it matters: Area leaders are facing intimidation or bullying as local districts begin a new school year this week.

  • And it comes as back-to-school mask fights are getting scary and violent across the country, Axios' Ivana Saric reports.

Of note: Sara Anne Willette, who tracks COVID cases in schools for the Iowa State Education Association, told Axios that she's received death threats on social media in the past week. She reported the harassment to police.

  • There had been no arrests, as of Monday.

What they're saying: Tagliareni believes the sender of her postcard is associated with area residents. She doesn't perceive the mail as threatening, but she says it crossed a line of decency.

  • Polk County Democratic Party Chairman Sean Bagniewski told Axios he believes the postcards are connected to the Nov. 2 school board election, where masks are likely to be a campaign topic.
  • An anti-vaxxer is expected to be on the ballot, he said.

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